Vaccine Testing Center, Johns Hopkins & NIH Celebrate 10-Year Collaboration

A shared mission to reduce the global health threat of dengue viruses and other cousins of the Zika virus family is what brought together researchers from the UVM Vaccine Testing Center, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in late 2008. On June 29, members of the three collaborating institutions gathered for a celebratory ten-year anniversary dinner at Vermont's Inn at Shelburne Farms.

The consortium is led by UVM Vaccine Testing Center Director and Chair of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D.Stephen Whitehead, Ph.D., senior scientist and virologist at the Laboratory of Viral Diseases at the NIAID, and Anna Durbin, M.D., professor of international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In addition to this ongoing collaboration, the UVM team has garnered additional funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to examine ways to prevent and gain a better understanding of dengue virus infections.

Innovative Research Model Sheds Light on Immune Response in Dengue Infection

Investigators Sean Diehl, Ph.D.Huy Tu, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Cellular and Molecular Biomedical Sciences program, and colleagues in the University of Vermont's Vaccine Testing Center and Center for Translational Global Infectious Disease Research (TGIR) have uncovered details of the human immune response to infection with dengue - a close "cousin" of the Zika virus - which 40 percent of the global population is at risk for contracting. Study findings, reported recently in the Lancet’s open-access journal EBioMedicine, illustrate new critical information that could provide much-needed help to evaluating dengue vaccine formulations and assist with advancing safe and efficacious candidate vaccines to help combat the most important mosquito-borne viral infection in our time.

Learn more about the study or read the full paper.

TGIR: $12.3 million Award Announced

The Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine are pleased to announce the receipt of a $12.3 million award for a new Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) called the “Translational Global Infectious Disease Research Center” (TGIR). The TGIR will join together two traditionally distinct groups of scientists to develop innovative approaches to prevent and control infectious disease. The TGIR will be housed within MMG and will be led by MMG Chair and VTC Director Beth Kirkpatrick, MD along with Chris Huston, MD and Jason Bates, PhD.

News coverage: WAMC Radio interviewWCAX and  Fox44 MyChamplainValley coverage. Learn more or go to the TGIR website.

Dr. Kristen DeStigter wins the Beth Kirkpatrick, MD, Citizen of the World Award

The Robert Larner, MD, College of Medicine recently presented the Beth Kirkpatrick, MD, Citizen of the World Award, which recognizes an outstanding leader and scholar who dedicates their work towards the advancement of humanitarian pursuits, to Kristen DeStigter, MD. Dr. DeStigter is a Tapas Green and Gold professor and chair of radiology. The award was created in honor of the founder and Director of the Vaccine Testing Center Beth Kirkpatrick, MD. Congratulations Dr. DeStigter!

Dr. Carrie Lyon, VTC Researcher, on WCAX's "The :30" 

Dr. Caroline Lyon of the Vaccine Testing Center was recently interviewed on local news WCAX's show "The :30", where she shared information about the VTC's new adenovirus trial. Adenovirus causes respiratory illness which can be severe and is a particular problem for military recruits who are in close quarters and under the stress of intense training. Vaccine manufacturer PaxVax is modernizing the vaccine and the VTC is testing it for tolerability and safety.  See the interviewlearn more about the trial or volunteer  

Excellence in Research Awards

UVM's Larner College of Medicine held its annual Excellence in Research Day on November 13, 2017. Beth Kirkpatrick, MD, Director of the Vaccine Testing Center, was awarded Senior Researcher of the Year while Christopher Huston, MD, Faculty Researcher with the VTC, received the Mid-Career Investigator Award. Congratulations Dr. Kirkpatrick and Dr. Huston!

2017 Symposium on Rotavirus Human Immunology Held

On May 15-16, 2017, the University of Vermont’s Vaccine Testing Center hosted fifteen of the world’s leading Rotavirus researchers at their Symposium on Rotavirus Human Immunology: Advancing Science, Decreasing Disease. These scientists joined investigators from the Vaccine Testing Center to tackle major outstanding scientific issues needed for the control of disease burden from Rotavirus diarrhea, the leading cause of child death due to severe diarrhea. Scientists representing The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the non-governmental organization PATH, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were in attendance. In addition, eleven U.S. and international academic institutions were represented, including those from Columbia (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Dr. Manuel Franco Cortes), India ( Christian Medical College, Dr. Gagandeep Kang), and Bangladesh (icddr,b; Dr. Rashidul Haque). Full article.

Dr. Kristen Pierce Receives UVM Early Achievement Award

Kristen Pierce, MD ’02, has been awarded the prestigious Early Achievement Award by the Larner College of Medicine’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations. This award is presented to an alumnus of UVM who has graduated within the past 15 years in recognition of their outstanding community or College service, scientific, or academic achievement. Dr. Pierce, an Associate Professor who specializes in Infectious Diseases, is a Principal Investigator at the Vaccine Testing Center where she has led trials and research on dengue, zika and other globally infectious diseases. We’d like to congratulate Dr. Pierce on this achievement!

Partners in Dhaka Fight Diarrheal Diseases...and Win!

The Vaccine Testing Center has collaborated with the International Center for Diarrheal Disease and Research (icddr, b) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, since 2002.  This partnership has yielded valuable information and deep relationships between the two centers. Our colleagues were recently featured in a New York Times article entitled Turning the Tide Against Cholera, which highlights the low-tech, highly effective treatment for diarrhea that was developed by icddr, b and which the World Health Organization estimates has saved 50 million lives worldwide in the past four decades.

Beth Kirkpatrick, MD, Director of the Vaccine Testing Center Inducted into ASCI

Beth Kirkpatrick, M.D., professor in the Division of Infectious Disease and Director of the UVM Vaccine Testing Center, was recently inducted into the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI), one of the oldest and most well-respected medical honor societies in the nation. Made up of more than 3,000 physician-scientists, ASCI elects members "for their outstanding records of scholarly achievement in biomedical research." The council elects just 80 new members every year out of the hundreds of nominations received.

E. Ross Colgate Featured on UVM's "Meet a Scientist" Series

Vaccine Testing Center Researcher and Analyst E. Ross Colgate, MPH, was recently featured as part of UVM Graduate Education's "Meet a Scientist" series, as well as the Larner College of Medicine's LarnerMed Instagram page. Colgate's research into rotavirus vaccine underperformance in Bangladesh is an important step toward understanding why a vaccine that has proven effective in the U.S. is far less effective at disease prevention in certain other populations. View Ross' Instagram post and learn more by reading the Meet a Scientist article.

VTC Faculty Member Kelly Cowan, MD, Receives Grant to Study Environmental Influences on Child Health

Vaccine Testing Center faculty member Kelly Cowan, M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital and assistant professor of pediatrics at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont, received a $1.84 million four-year grant as part of the National Institutes of Health’s Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO). The ECHO program aims to discover how early childhood exposure to certain environmental factors might influence the health of children and adolescents. The Vermont program is called IMproving Pediatric Access to Clinical Trials in Vermont – or IMPACT VT.

Article features VTC Researcher/Analyst

Mary Claire Walsh, P.A., Study Clinician, Researcher, and Analyst at the VTC, was recently featured in The Exeter Bulletin's Nex-Gen Medicine article "Meet Five Alumni Whose Science is Saving Lives". The piece features Philips Exeter Academy alumni who are among the current pioneers on the medical frontier and whose passion for their work and commitment to patients goes above and beyond. Read the article..

Vaxchora: Groundbreaking Cholera Approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved Vaxchora, the first adult cholera vaccine available in the United States. Testing for the vaccine was conducted by researchers at the UVM Vaccine Testing Center with the help of local volunteers. Read the FDA Press Release.

VTC Helps Develop First Effective Single Dose Dengue Vaccine

UVM Vaccine Testing Center recently had an article published in Science Translational Medicine on the results of a groundbreaking clinical trial conducted by the VTC, the National Institutes for Health, and John Hopkins University that revealed an effective, single-dose dengue vaccine. See the story in Science Translational Journal.  

Rotavirus Interview on VPR

Researcher/Analyst Ross Colgate of the UVM Vaccine Testing Center was recently interviewed on VPR Vermont Edition regarding the VTC's recent Rotavirus immunology award. Listen to the full interview here.

Publications and Awards

VTC Researchers and colleagues publish major article: "Rotavirus-Specific Immunoglobulin A Responses Are Impaired and Serve as a Suboptimal Correlate of Protection Among Infants in Bangladesh" was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Drs. Kirkpatrick and Pierce publish new Dengue research..

Dr. Kirkpatrick, et al. publish new Rotavirus and Oral Polio Vaccine research..


News & Awards Archive