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Research News at Vanderbilt

New systems biology method may help improve vaccine evaluation

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Researchers at Vanderbilt University have found a new way to “dissect” the human immune response following influenza vaccination.

The cell-based, systems biology assessment, described in the Feb. 23 issue of the journal PLoS ONE by Andrew Link, Ph.D., Kathryn Edwards, M.D., and colleagues, may help improve predictions of vaccine efficacy and potentially adverse events, they concluded.

Systems biology is a comprehensive approach to describe complex interactions between multiple components in a biological system.

The researchers rapidly purified six immune cell types: human T and B cells, natural killer cells, myeloid dendritic cells, monocytes and neutrophils from fresh venous blood. They found that RNA and protein expression profiles from each sorted cell type differed significantly from whole blood or peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

This cell type-specific information provides a more comprehensive approach to monitor and eventually model vaccine responses. The approach also is applicable for systems biology studies of, for example, infectious diseases and drug treatments, the researchers added.

The research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants RR024975, AI095202, HL069765 and GM064779.

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