Thesis Defense Announcement
To:  The George Mason University Community

Candidate: Kassandra Jackson

Program: M.S. in Biology
Date:   Monday, November 28, 2016
Time:   1:00 pm
Place:  Colgan Hall (Occoquan Bldg.), Room 110-A
             George Mason University
Science & Technology Campus
Title: “Effects of Hydrogel Nanoparticles as a Novel Adjuvant for a Purified Whole Inactivated Chikungunya Virus Vaccine”
Thesis Director: Dr. Alessandra Luchini
Thesis Committee: Dr. Lance Liotta, Dr. Kylene Kehn-Hall 
All are invited to attend the defense.
This thesis describes a novel nanotrap nanoparticle adjuvant for a purified whole inactivated Chikungunya CHIK virus vaccine and its immune response and level of toxicity. For a vaccine to be good candidate it must be able to invoke a strong immune response to the viral antigen without causing damage to the recipient. Most vaccines are formulated with an adjuvant, which is anything that has the ability to bolster the immune response to the vaccine. Nanoparticle pose as a promising alternative to the commonly used alum adjuvant. The novel chemistry of the nanoparticles used in this study allows them to deliver the drug to the desired area, gradually release their cargo, and stabilize and protect the vaccine. Following a 28-day mouse trail, blood sera from the placebo group, non-adjuvanted CHIK vaccine group and NP-adjuvanted CHIK vaccine group were tested for neutralizing antibodies. Each vaccine group was also tested for signs of toxicity. The neutralizing titers from the NP-adjuvanted vaccine group was substantially equivalent to the non-adjuanted vaccine group. Moreover, the author showed that the NPs were able to capture whole CHIK virus, remain adsorbed to the virus for an extended period of time and that the NPs were non-toxic.