The main and most important feature of vaccines is the induction of an immunological memory response, which is key to providing long-term protection against pathogens. The current strategies for potent antibacterial and antiviral vaccines employ conjugation of pathogen specific entities onto carrier proteins, and are limited to formulations that suffer from low stability and short shelf-lives, and are thus not viable in developing countries. Strategies for the development of new vaccinations against endogenous diseases like cancer further remain an unmet challenge, since current methodologies suffer from a lack of a modular and tailored vaccine-specific functionalisation. SupraVacc therefore proposes a new design approach for the development of fully synthetic molecular vaccines, using carbohydrate and glycopeptide appended epitopes that are grafted onto supramolecular building blocks. These units can be individually designed to attach disease specific antigens and immunostimulants. Due to their self-assembling properties into nanoscaled pathogen mimetic particles, they serve as a supramolecular subunit vaccine toolbox. By developing a universal supramolecular polymer platform, we will construct multipotent vaccines from glycan-decorated peptides, that combine the activity of protein conjugates with the facile handling, precise composition and increased stability of traditional small molecule pharmaceutical compounds. SUPRAVACC will pioneer the design of minimalistic and broadly applicable vaccines, and will evaluate the supramolecular engineering approach for immunisations against antibacterial diseases, as well as for applications as antitumour vaccine candidates.

Members involved: Dr. Adele Gabba (PostDoc), Christian Merfels (PhD student), Nicole Hutter (PhD student), Tino Mackiol (PhD student), Marius Thomas (PhD student), Yuqing Wang (MSc student).




Link to the press release (ENG, DE) of the University of Mainz.
Link to the press release of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.



[2] Institute of Chemistry of Ireland (ICI) Online Postgraduate Chemistry Research Symposium. 9/9/2020.
Career Talk, from 2019 ICI Postgraduate Award winner.
Adele Gabba.

[1] German Academic International Network, Virtual Annual Conference, GAIN20, 28-29/8/2020.
Experiences of a Marie-Curie IEF & ERC CoG Fellow.
Pol Besenius.