Collaborate to innovate
One and done.
That’s how Elizabeth Grego, a doctoral degree candidate at Iowa State University, sees the future of vaccines. She and her colleagues are formulating a one-dose vaccine for the prevention and treatment of common diseases that now require boosters.
“Take the flu, for instance. You have to get a yearly shot,” Elizabeth says. “We’ve accepted that as the norm, but we’re learning we could do better. If we can improve, we should.”
Scientists are also exploring vaccines for diseases where none currently exist. This groundbreaking research, along with countless other life-changing projects, is happening at Iowa State’s Nanovaccine Institute.
The institute is a consortium of more than 70 researchers from across the country, coordinated by Iowa State. “We’re harnessing knowledge to revolutionize how we prevent and treat common diseases such as respiratory infections and disorders like Alzheimer’s and cancer,” says Balaji Narasimhan, director of the institute and Anson Marston Distinguished Professor and Vlasta Klima Balloun Chair in Chemical and Biological Engineering.
Thanks to transformational gifts from donors to the Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, the institute – along with faculty and students from across campus and disciplines – operates from a new, state-of-the-art facility. With plentiful equipment, cutting-edge technology and myriad experts under one roof, the institute exemplifies the collaborative culture of innovation for which Iowa State is known.
“I’m not an immunologist, but if I have a question, I can walk down the hallway and ask an expert,” Elizabeth says. “I feel very supported.”
Synergy like this is rare in premier research institutions. Strengthened by philanthropy, it attracts the very best faculty and students – pre-eminent scientists and scholars who will someday solve the world’s most pressing problems.
“Donors provide opportunities for generations of students who will learn here and go on to make a difference in the world,” Elizabeth says.