Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Early Career Investigator Recognition

October 2015


Norbert Pardi, Ph.D.

University of Pennsylvania (Perelman School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases), US

In Dr. Pardi's online research forum, his presentation gave an overview of a new potent vaccine delivery platform. We demonstrated that intradermal administration of low dose nucleoside modified mRNA complexed in lipid nanoparticles induced strong T and B cell immune responses in mice against 2 immunogens, HIV-1 envelope and influenza hemagglutinin. What makes this vaccine platform novel is that in addition to inducing very strong CD4+ T cell response, extremely potent T follicular helper immune responses were generated that associated with potent antigen-specific antibody responses. We believe that nucleoside modified mRNA-LNP vaccination has a bright future ahead in the field of vaccine development against HIV and other infectious diseases.



September 2015


Greg Finak, Ph.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Epidemiology, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division), US

In Dr. Finak's online research forum, his presentation covered Detection, visualization and modeling of rare, polyfunctional Ag-specific T-cells from multicolor FCM data is particularly challenging due to the rarity of the cells involved and the combinatorial nature of the data space. This presentation will describe new computational approaches that enable visualization of such rare T-cell populations across treatment groups and tools for modeling these cell populations to identify subject-specific T-cell responses.



June 2015


Kelly Lee, Ph.D.

University of Washington (School of Pharmacy), US

In Dr. Lee's online research forum, his presentation covered a set of biophysical approaches that provide structural information for a wide range of proteins and glycoproteins under native solution conditions will be described. These methods can provide new structural perspectives to aid vaccine design and discovery, with application in: validation of structural integrity and authenticity of immunogens; identification of refinements to improve epitope presentation; mapping antibody epitopes; and characterization of perturbations of conformational epitope presentation resulting from antigen formulation with adjuvants.


May 2015


Meron Mengistu, Ph.D.

University of Maryland, Baltimore (Institute of Human Virology), US
Nominated by Dr. George Lewis

In Dr. Mengistu's online research forum, her presentation covered the characterization of cell-free and cell-bound HIV antigenicity using novel microscopy-based approaches, and explore antigenicity – function relationships.

March 2015


Rachel Galimidi

California Institute of Technology, US
Nominated by Dr. Pamela Bjorkman

In Ms. Galimidi's online research forum, her presentation covered antibodies developed during HIV-1 infection lose efficacy as the viral spike mutates. We postulated that anti-HIV-1 antibodies primarily bind monovalently because HIV's low spike density impedes bivalent binding through inter-spike crosslinking, and the spike structure prohibits bivalent binding through intra-spike crosslinking. Monovalent binding reduces avidity and potency, thus expanding the range of mutations permitting antibody evasion. To test this idea, we engineered antibody-based molecules capable of bivalent binding through intra-spike crosslinking. We used DNA as a "molecular ruler" to measure intra-epitope distances on virion-bound spikes and construct intra-spike crosslinking molecules. Optimal bivalent reagents exhibited up to 2.5 orders of magnitude increased potency (>100-fold average increases across virus panels) and identified conformational states of virion-bound spikes. The demonstration that intra-spike crosslinking lowers the concentration of antibodies required for neutralization supports the hypothesis that low spike densities facilitate antibody evasion and the use of molecules capable of intra-spike crosslinking for therapy or passive protection.



2016 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2016, click the following link: 2016 Early Career Investigators

2015 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2015, click the following link: 2015 Early Career Investigators

2014 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2014, click the following link: 2014 Early Career Investigators

2013 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2013, click the following link: 2013 Early Career Investigators

2012 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2012, click the following link: 2012 Early Career Investigators

2011 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2011, click the following link: 2011 Early Career Investigators

2010 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2010, click the following link: 2010 Early Career Investigators

2009 Early Career Investigators

To view the honorees that occured in 2009, click the following link: 2009 Early Career Investigators

For general questions about the CAVD or the content of the these pages, please contact
For technical issues with the website, please contact