LA JOLLA, CA—Dr. Alessandro Sette’s team at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology has been named Best Academic Research Team as part of the 10th Vaccine Industry Excellence Awards at this year’s World Vaccine Congress 2017 held in Washington. The ViE Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions and achievements of leaders who continually set standards of excellence and advocacy in vaccine development.
“Alex and his dedicated team members, who are world experts and thought leaders in their field, are truly deserving of this honor,” says Mitchell Kronenberg, Ph.D., president and chief scientific officer of La Jolla Institute. “Their sustained efforts to systematically dissect the immune response to a wide range of microbes and allergens has had a tremendous impact on the field of immunology. It has spurred a shift from the trial-and-error approach that has dominated the field of vaccine development in the past and paved the way for the rational design of immune-based treatments.”
Dr. Sette, professor and head of the Division of Vaccine Discovery at La Jolla Institute, and his team focus on understanding immune responses to many different targets, from infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, whooping cough, dengue or Zika, to allergies and asthma caused by pollens, cockroaches and dust mites, to autoimmunity and neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
“No matter, whether we study an infection like TB or severe reactions to seasonal allergens, our work is always based on the same fundamental question: What distinguishes "good" outcomes from "bad" ones on the molecular level?”, says Sette. “Our goal is to reveal hidden key differences that could be applied to design treatments such as vaccines or improved ‘allergy shots’ that mimic the desired immune responses.”
Dr. Sette has also overseen the design and curation efforts of the national Immune Epitope Database (IEDB), a freely available, widely used bioinformatics resource, since its inception in the early 2000s. The IEDB catalogs all epitopes—the specific structures that the immune system recognizes—for humans, non-human primates, rodents, and other vertebrates, from allergens, infectious diseases, autoantigens and transplants. The database has proven an invaluable tool to accelerate immunology research around the world.
The World Vaccine Congress is an annual gathering of the global vaccine industry to discuss commercial and scientific issues involving regulation, strategy, manufacturing, trials, partnering, influenza, cancer, emerging diseases and veterinary vaccines.
About La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology
The La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology is dedicated to understanding the intricacies and power of the immune system so that we may apply that knowledge to promote human health and prevent a wide range of diseases. Since its founding in 1988 as an independent, nonprofit research organization, the Institute has made numerous advances leading toward its goal: life without disease.