Areas of Specialization
- Alphavirus-Based Vectors for Cell Targeting and Vaccine Applications and Development
- Replication of Alphaviruses
Ph.D. in Microbiology; University of California, Davis
M.S. in Veterinary Microbiology; North Carolina State University
B.S. in Biochemistry; California Polytechnic State University
The primary focus of Dr. Heidner’s research lab is the design and development of alphavirus-based vectors and vaccines. Alphaviruses are small RNA viruses that are spread to humans and other vertebrates through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Alphaviruses possess a number of properties that support their use as vectors for expressing foreign genes of interest. Therefore, these viruses have been researched extensively for use as recombinant vaccines.
The lab is using Sindbis virus, the prototype alphavirus, to develop and evaluate new strategies for targeting alphavirus vectors, or alphavirus-expressed antigens to immunologically relevant cell types such as dendritic cells. An additional project focuses on the development of an alphavirus-based influenza vaccine.