Sticky Proteins Carry Vaccines

Successful vaccines and immune therapies contain more than just bits of harmful bugs; they also contain components that guide our immune response, making them more effective. Duke engineer Joel Collier and his group are hacking proteins’ natural ability to bend, fold, and assemble to create precisely blended vaccines. His team attaches important proteins (modeled here as red, cyan, and green) to short nanofiber segments (grey). When mixed, the proteins self-organize, creating a scaffold that delivers the perfect concoction of chemicals.

This image was chosen as a winner of the 2016 NIH funded research image call. Credit: Peter Allen

To see the entire gallery of 2016 NIH award winners go to




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