Dr. Balaji Narasimhan, Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Vlasta Klima Balloun Faculty Chair, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Nanovaccine Institute, Iowa State University
In this still young 21st century, we have already faced multiple major pandemics. More than eight hundred known pathogens have crossed species barriers so far. The increased pace of global travel, trade, and displaced wild animals pose threats that are surpassing control measures. Our over-dependence upon antibiotics has led to induction of anti-microbial resistant strains. All these aspects have combined to create a perfect storm that is severely straining our healthcare system. In this context, new advances in nanotechnology, materials science, immunology, and data sciences can be exploited to create next generation countermeasures to prevent and treat infectious diseases. These countermeasures include nanovaccines and nano-based drug delivery vehicles. This talk will focus on the science of vaccines, the status of COVID-19 vaccines, the latest advances in the design and development of novel vaccine technologies to combat infectious diseases, and vaccine safety and community advocacy.