Scientists Present Findings at ‘Neglected Tropical Disease’ Workshop
ALBANY, N.Y., June 8, 2012—Three Albany Medical College scientists were invited to present their research studies at the University of Rhode Island’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed) 2012 Neglected Tropical Disease Vaccine Design Training Program this week.
Edmund J. Gosselin, Ph.D., professor; Timothy J. Sellati, Ph.D., associate professor; and Karsten R.O. Hazlett, Ph.D., assistant professor, who are all with Albany Medical College’s Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease (CIMD), presented their findings on Monday, June 4.
Approximately six billion people, one sixth of the world’s population, suffer from one or more neglected tropical diseases, which the World Health Organization defines as diseases that affect a majority of the developing world but have not been adequately researched due to insufficient funding. Poverty, conflict situations and natural disasters aggravate conditions that help spread these diseases, which include cholera and dengue.
The aim of the workshop is to train researchers to use state-of-the-art techniques to convert immunological data into models that will help in developing new vaccines and reducing the global burden of neglected tropical diseases.
Albany Medical College, regarded by the National Institutes of Health as “an internationally-recognized infectious disease research institution,” is a hub for research on vaccines for diseases such as tularemia, plague, Lyme disease, childhood bacterial infections, HIV/AIDS, flu and other microbial infections.
Dr. Gosselin discussed his work on generating effective vaccines from the perspective of antigens (substances that stimulate the production of antibodies) and antigen presenting cells, which are responsible for detecting antigens in vaccines to create a protective immune response in the body.
Dr. Sellati focused on the role of the body’s various immune responses when developing vaccines. For instance, in order to engineer more effective vaccines it is important to be able to discriminate between immune responses that are protective versus those that may compromise the effectiveness of a vaccine.
Dr. Hazlett explained his research on changes that occur in bacteria when adapting to their immediate environment, and how such changes can impact vaccine development. For example, bacteria grown in vitro (in the laboratory) often show different characteristics from the same type of bacteria which has adapted to its mammalian host.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York’s only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region’s largest physicians practice with 325 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region’s health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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