VIDO-InterVac Scientist Named New Canada Research Chair

Sep 23, 2009

VIDO-InterVac is pleased to announce that Dr. Philip Griebel, VIDO-InterVac Scientist and professor in the School of Public Health, has been awarded a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Neonatal Mucosal Immunology to identify vaccine strategies that will prevent or clear neonatal viral or bacterial infections. The renewable position is valued at $1.4 million over seven years.

Griebel's research program will encompass both creation of targeted vaccines and needle-free delivery (e.g. oral vaccines) against pathogens which enter the body through mucosal surfaces such as those found in the respiratory and intestinal tracts. If successful, this novel approach would also be relevant to a wide range of pathogens including emerging diseases such as influenza.

About the Chair Holder - Philip Griebel: Philip Griebel joined VIDO-InterVac in1995as a program manager of the Immunology Research group. A member of the Science Management Team and the Beef Technical Group, he is a member of research projects involving BSE vaccine development and Johne's disease, and is involved with Immune Modulation and Neonatal Vaccine research groups.

Griebel was a member of the VIDO team that developed a novel model for the analyses of mucosal immune responses in the small intestine of ruminants. This model has subsequently been used to evaluate the function of gut-associated lymphoid tissue in the newborn and to analyze mucosal immune responses induced by potential vaccine antigens and oral vaccine delivery systems. This model system is now being used at VIDO to investigate host responses (sheep, cattle, and chicken) to viral and bacterial intestinal pathogens. He also helped identify a novel method of fetal immunization through oral delivery of DNA vaccines. Subsequent investigations confirmed that this can induce protective immunity in the newborn, leading to the filing of a patent. Griebel was involved in the development a novel culture system for ruminant B cells, crucial to healthy immune responses, that supports study of the control, activation and differentiation of mucosal B cells, and the characterization of the biological effects of CpG ODN molecules, a novel class of molecules that activate the innate, or natural, immune system. He has also performed investigations that provided significant insight into CpG ODN selection, formulation, and delivery

About the Canada Research Chairs Program: The Canada Research Chairs (CRC) program was created by the Government of Canada in 2000. The goal of the program is to establish 2000 CRC's (research professorships) in eligible degree-granting institutions in Canada. The program invests $300 million per year to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds, and stands at the centre of a national strategy to make Canada one of the world's top countries in research and development. There are currently 24 CRC's at the U of S (14 Tier 1 Chairs; 10 Tier 2 Chairs). Funding for infrastructure is also provided by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

About VIDO-InterVac: VIDO-InterVac is a world leader in developing vaccines and technologies which protect humans and animals from infectious diseases. Created in 1975, VIDO-InterVac has CL2 and CL3 facilities that include virology, immunology, bacteriology and biochemistry labs and a 160 acre research station. A research organization of the University of Saskatchewan with operating support from provincial and federal governments as well as industry grants, VIDO-InterVac hold 80+ U.S. patents and has developed technology for eight commercial vaccines.