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Liana Medina

UH expands vaccine research through NIH grant to minority students

The University of Hawaiʻi is expanding its studies of a proposed vaccine for the deadly Ebola virus. A new grant of nearly $112,000 awarded to Liana Medina, a PhD candidate working with Assistant Professor Axel Lehrer at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) makes the additional work possible.

Lehrer’s promising vaccine candidate has already been proven effective in animal clinical studies. Under the grant from the National Institutes of Health to support minority scientists (Medina is of Hispanic heritage), Medina hopes to show the vaccine might protect against other deadly viruses related to Ebola.

“We are looking to see if our vaccine candidate can protect in other members in the filovirus family, viruses that are related to Ebola virus such as Marburg Virus and Sudan Virus,” said Medina.

“That would be hugely important in the case of a future outbreak in which we don’t know which virus will be infecting the populations,” said Lehrer of the Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology.

Medina was invited to present her research at this summer’s American Society of Virology meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.

For more about the research, including a “Q and A” with the scientist, go to the JABSOM website.

Source: A UH News story