Major Areas of Research
- Innate immune responses to tick-borne infections
- Mouse models of host-pathogen interactions
- Non-human primate models of infectious disease
The Translational Research Program (TRP) serves three major functions at the VRC: 1) provides centralized support and service for all in vivo research conducted at the VRC, 2) conducts collaborative research and animal model development, and 3) operates a fully accredited lab animal facility.
TRP provides all aspects of oversight and programmatic assistance to support teaching, training, and in vivo research for the VRC by managing all preclinical safety and regulatory issues, ensuring judicious and humane use of animals in compliance with all institutional, local, state, and federal guidelines. It is the VRC primary resource for consultation, collaboration, and professional assistance in selecting appropriate animal models or establishing novel models to study disease and vaccine effects.
TRP pursues independent and collaborative research projects related to animal model and preclinical product development for HIV, influenza, emerging infectious diseases such as alphaviruses, and other biodefense-focused diseases. We conduct translational research to advance vaccine products from preclinical stages toward human clinical trials by actively monitoring and overseeing efficacy, safety, and toxicology studies in preparation for regulatory oversight of product development. TRP also investigates novel vaccine delivery methods to enhance efficiency, vaccine efficacy, and safety.
TRP serves as a fully accredited Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC) in-house animal facility, adhering to all federal regulations. The facility provides quality animal husbandry services, veterinary care, and facility management support for rodents. The facility offers preventive medical care, routine surveillance, and quality assurance for vendor- and colony-produced animals and may also establish and maintain its own mouse breeding colonies if necessary. A variety of technical services are performed by facility staff, including parenteral injections or oral administration of Animal Care and Use Committee (ACUC)-approved experimental materials; blood, tissue, and serum collection; surgical manipulations; animal identification procedures; electroporation procedures; anesthesia/analgesic administration; and other procedures as needed. The veterinary care unit also offers training for those who wish to perform these procedures themselves. For VRC studies conducted at other facilities, TRP establishes contractual agreements and coordination between investigators and these facilities. Within the in-house facility and contracted facilities, TRP ensures high-quality research in accordance with regulatory guidelines and biosafety level requirements.
Dr. Scorpio is a licensed veterinarian and has been a Diplomate of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine since 2004. Dr. Scorpio received her DVM from Michigan State University in 1997. She then pursued an NIH T32 Comparative Medicine fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she remained on as faculty for 8 years. During her tenure there, she also received her MPH at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Scorpio then pursued her career internationally at the National University of Singapore and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine before returning stateside for her present position with the Vaccine Research Center.
Saran Bao, B.S., Biologist
Rachel Vistein, DVM, PhD, Post Doc IRTA
Animal Care and Use Program
Alida Taylor, B.S., Animal Program Coordinator
Carmelo Chiedi, CMAR, RLATG, Project Manager
Marlon Dillon, B.S., CMAR, LATG, Animal Facility Specialist
Gloria Salbador, ALAT, Veterinary Technician
Lauren Gilliam, LAT, Veterinary Technician
Alicia Silvious, Veterinary Technician
John Paul Todd, B.S., Biologist
Hana Bao, MPH, Research Support Specialist
Steven Young, LAT, NHP Project Manager
Yoav Littman, MS, LATG, NHP Behaviorist/Research Specialist
Jumagul Noor, DVM, Research Specialist
Elizabeth McCarthy, BA, LAT, Research Specialist
Stewart-Jones GBE, Chuang GY, Xu K, Zhou T, Acharya P, Tsybovsky Y, Ou L, Zhang B, Fernandez-Rodriguez B, Gilardi V, Silacci-Fregni C, Beltramello M, Baxa U, Druz A, Kong WP, Thomas PV, Yang Y, Foulds KE, Todd JP, Wei H, Salazar AM, Scorpio DG, Carragher B, Potter CS, Corti D, Mascola JR, Lanzavecchia A, Kwong PD. Structure-based design of a quadrivalent fusion glycoprotein vaccine for human parainfluenza virus types 1-4. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Nov 27;115(48):12265-12270.
Xu K, Acharya P, Kong R, Cheng C, Chuang GY, Liu K, Louder MK, O'Dell S, Rawi R, Sastry M, Shen CH, Zhang B, Zhou T, Asokan M, Bailer RT, Chambers M, Chen X, Choi CW, Dandey VP, Doria-Rose NA, Druz A, Eng ET, Farney SK, Foulds KE, Geng H, Georgiev IS, Gorman J, Hill KR, Jafari AJ, Kwon YD, Lai YT, Lemmin T, McKee K, Ohr TY, Ou L, Peng D, Rowshan AP, Sheng Z, Todd JP, Tsybovsky Y, Viox EG, Wang Y, Wei H, Yang Y, Zhou AF, Chen R, Yang L, Scorpio DG, McDermott AB, Shapiro L, Carragher B, Potter CS, Mascola JR, Kwong PD. Epitope-based vaccine design yields fusion peptide-directed antibodies that neutralize diverse strains of HIV-1. Nat Med. 2018 Jun;24(6):857-867.
Scorpio DG, Choi KS, Dumler JS. Anaplasma phagocytophilum-Related Defects in CD8, NKT, and NK Lymphocyte Cytotoxicity. Front Immunol. 2018 Apr 9;9:710.
Kwon YD, Chuang GY, Zhang B, Bailer RT, Doria-Rose NA, Gindin TS, Lin B, Louder MK, McKee K, O'Dell S, Pegu A, Schmidt SD, Asokan M, Chen X, Choe M, Georgiev IS, Jin V, Pancera M, Rawi R, Wang K, Chaudhuri R, Kueltzo LA, Manceva SD, Todd JP, Scorpio DG, Kim M, Reinherz EL, Wagh K, Korber BM, Connors M, Shapiro L, Mascola JR, Kwong PD. Surface-Matrix Screening Identifies Semi-specific Interactions that Improve Potency of a Near Pan-reactive HIV-1-Neutralizing Antibody. Cell Rep. 2018 Feb 13;22(7):1798-1809.
Jenkins S, Ketzis JK, Dundas J, Scorpio D. Efficacy of Minocycline in Naturally Occurring Nonacute Ehrlichia canis Infection in Dogs. J Vet Intern Med. 2018 Jan;32(1):217-221.
André MR, Dumler JS, Herrera HM, Gonçalves LR, de Sousa KC, Scorpio DG, de Santis AC, Domingos IH, de Macedo GC, Machado RZ. Assessment of a quantitative 5' nuclease real-time polymerase chain reaction using the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase gamma subunit (nuoG) for Bartonella species in domiciled and stray cats in Brazil. J Feline Med Surg. 2016 Oct;18(10):783-90.