Gregory A. Poland, M.D., studies the immunogenetics of vaccine response in adults and children. Dr. Poland and his team within the Vaccine Research Group aim to improve the health of individuals across the world by pursuing challenges posed by infectious diseases and bioterrorism through clinical, laboratory and epidemiologic vaccine research. The Vaccine Research Group uses immunological testing, including serology, cell-mediated immunity, cell culture and cytokine assays; polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques and HLA typing for immunogenetic studies; and high-throughput assays, such as next-generation sequencing, transcriptomics, mass spectrometry and proteomic analysis. Dr. Poland's research has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1991.
Focus areas What is "vaccinomics?" Coined by Dr. Poland and his team in 2007, the term "vaccinomics" refers to the development of personalized vaccines based on the increased understanding of immune response phenotype-genotype information. Through research, Dr. Poland and his team aim to explain how vaccine-induced immune responses and vaccine-related adverse events may be genetically determined — and therefore predictable. Active projects: Influenza A and H1N1. This project will provide novel information describing how immune responses to inactivated influenza A and H1N1 vaccine are generated, particularly in older adults. This information is useful in designing new vaccines to control this deadly viral disease.
Rubella. This project will develop comprehensive information on the contribution and influence of genetic variants on rubella vaccine-induced immune responses. These data will support a novel paradigm enabling the design of new rubella vaccines to protect public health and could also be used to inform vaccine development against other viral infections.
Measles. This project focuses on genes that influence and determine the human immune response to the measles vaccine. This knowledge will allow a better understanding of how measles immunity develops after vaccination and why a range of immune responses occur.
Smallpox. This project will focus on identifying individual genetic risk factors, enlarging our understanding of immune mechanisms, and defining biomarkers of risk and immunity that can assist in optimizing the development of new vaccines, diagnostic tests and therapeutics to protect humans from smallpox.