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Beckham Lab Awarded New DOD Grant

Zika Virus Vaccine Target Development in a Mouse Model of Disease
PI: D. Beckham
Funded by: DOD (CDMRP, PRMRP Investigator-Initiated Research Award).
Term of Grant: Three Years (7/1/2017-6/30/2020) Total Funding: $1.81 Million.

What it’s about: Fetal ZIKV infection can result in death of the fetus, microcephaly, blindness, and many other congenital malformations. There is currently limited understanding of the innate and acquired immune responses to ZIKV infection during pregnancy. Since vaccine development occurs largely in healthy adults, it is important to first understand the changes in immune responses associated with pregnancy that may alter vaccine efficacy or alter protection of the fetus. The Beckham lab has developed an immune-competent mouse model of ZIKV vertical transmission, which it will use to define the innate and acquired immune responses in pregnant mice compared to adult, non-pregnant mice. They will then define neutralizing antibody responses following an attenuated ZIKV vaccine approach developed in the lab and compare responses to ZIKV vaccination in pregnant and non-pregnant mice. These studies are designed to provide foundational work in the development of a ZIKV vaccine.