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Highlighting Vaccine Research at The Wistar Institute Through the Penn-CHOP-Wistar Vaccine Symposium

March 23, 2022

From HIV to COVID-19, Wistar scientists are at the forefront of vaccine development. Read our recap of the recent Vaccine Symposium and the impactful research in progress at the Institute.

This past Monday, The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia held the Penn-CHOP-Wistar Vaccine Symposium. Hosted both in-person at the Smilow Center for Translational Research and online, the all-day event covered the history of vaccines and current vaccine research from the three sponsoring institutions.

Keynote speaker and Wistar professor emeritus Stanley Plotkin, M.D., is a prominent researcher who is known for the development of the rubella vaccine while he was a virologist at The Wistar Institute. Furthermore, his years of work helping in vaccine efforts for rabies, rotavirus, and cytomegalovirus have stimulated much innovation in the biomedical research community.
After giving a brief history of vaccines, Plotkin proclaimed “Vaccinology has taken off. … We are now in a golden age of vaccinology.”

The Symposium’s research presentations opened with Wistar’s Daniel Kulp, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, and his work on a novel COVID-19 nanoparticle vaccine. Amelia Escolano, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, also spoke about her efforts investigating immunization strategies for HIV. Wistar’s Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center Director David B. Weiner, Ph.D., gave a summary of his research into the genetic delivery of vaccines, calling the innovation of vaccinology in Pennsylvania among these institutions “extraordinary”.

The current global pandemic has reinforced the need for scientific solutions and a deeper understanding of human diseases. It is the studies and ideas from research centers like The Wistar Institute and its colleagues that propel forward biomedicine. As keynote speaker Plotkin stated, “Pandemics have occurred throughout the history of humankind and will continue to do so in the future. Infectious diseases of humans will continue to happen. Therefore, we must act against them.”