SARANAC LAKE - Trudeau Institute faculty member Laura Haynes has been awarded a $1.89 million grant to study the impacts of aging on the immune system's response to infection and vaccination.
Entitled "Aging and Immunity to Infections," the award is one of the largest program grants funded this year by the National Institute of Health's National Institute on Aging, amounting to more than $9 million over a five-year period, according to a press release from the institute.
Existing research from the Trudeau Institute has found that immune cells don't respond to vaccination as well as a person ages. Immune cells of the elderly show slower and reduced functional responses compared to cells of younger individuals.
Trudeau Institute’s Laura Haynes
(Photo courtesy of Trudeau Institute)
The goal of Haynes' five-year program is to define how aging impairs immunity and to identify vaccination strategies that will overcome the impairments. As the research develops, Haynes' colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the University of Connecticut Health Science Center will test the discoveries of influenza vaccines in elderly mice and their translation to the elderly in human trials.
"This program is vitally important for moving the field forward towards development of new vaccine strategies for the elderly," Haynes said in the release. "Our basic research findings in animal models will be confirmed in human studies at the collaborating medical centers. We expect to have new influenza vaccine candidates by the end of this translational research project."
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., also announced the grant Thursday in a press release.
"This is a great investment for the Trudeau Institute and for the North Country," Gillibrand said in the release. "Trudeau is home to some of the world's brightest minds and cutting-edge innovation. When we invest in new ground-breaking research, we can unlock treatments to some of humanity's oldest and deadliest diseases - improving lives and saving lives."
Benjamin Brewster, board chairman of the institute, thanked the Trudeau staff for pushing to obtain the grant.
"This award will help advance the Trudeau Institute's discoveries in fundamental research and its impact on cures and treatments," Brewster said in the release.