The Coler Lab focuses on vaccine development and host-directed therapies against epidemic and pandemic infectious diseases. Our mission is to develop solutions to fight tuberculosis, nontuberculous mycobacteria and positive strand RNA viruses to improve outcomes in adult and childhood health — major causes of mortality, poverty, and inequality in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). Our focus is translational research: we evaluate and advance vaccine candidates from the laboratory to human clinical studies.
Current Research Projects
The pathogens we study pose significant challenges in that they have evolved to evade or suppress host immunity. In an effort to address these issues, we are investigating new vaccine and host-directed therapy concepts aimed at achieving protective efficacy. Toward this goal, we design candidate vaccines, test them extensively in preclinical models including mice, guinea pigs and non-human primates to demonstrate acceptable tolerability and immunogenicity, and evaluate both prophylactic and therapeutic potential in these animal models. Our studies have shown that when administered in combination with antimicrobial drugs profound protection is induced that persists after drugs are withdrawn.
Studies currently in progress in the Coler Lab aim to elucidate mechanisms of protection mediated by various prophylactic and therapeutic approaches including the application of novel adjuvants, mRNA vaccine delivery and combinatorial regimens to further improve these outcomes.
As a member of the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC) and a Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units (VTEUs) site, Dr. Coler is also working on clinical trials of therapeutics and prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines for a variety of infectious disease pathogens including SARS-CoV-2, influenza and schistosomiasis.
Results from our work has resulted in several patents, three start-up biotechnology companies, and translation of several infectious disease vaccines from preclinical to clinical development. Some viable solutions to date include M72 and ID93 for tuberculosis, both in Phase 2 clinical testing.