Pursuing Vaccine Breakthroughs: Michelson Prizes Awarded to Early-Career Scientists

Spurring Innovation in Human Immunology and Vaccine Research

Even as potential vaccine breakthroughs offer hope against COVID-19, scientists also continue making progress on vaccines to combat other diseases.

Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Immunome Project help spur such vital innovation through the Michelson Prizes for Human Immunology and Vaccine Research.

The 2020 Michelson Prizes winners are Danika Hill, a research fellow in immunology and pathology at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Michael Birnbaum, an assistant professor at MIT.

Hill’s project aims to uncover helper cells that improve vaccine responses. This work could improve vaccines and immunotherapies for numerous disorders, from cancer to infectious diseases like COVID-19.

Birnbaum’s project seeks to understand how the immune systems of certain individuals with HIV can combat the disease without antiviral medications—information that could help develop an effective HIV vaccine.

The Michelson Prizes are awarded annually to young investigators who apply disruptive concepts and inventive processes to advance human immunology, vaccine discovery, and immunotherapy research across major global diseases. Each awardee receives $150,000 to advance their research.

“History shows that profound breakthroughs are made by researchers under age 35,” says Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation. “We must invest in next-generation scientists who have demonstrated excellence in their field by combining disruptive thinking with a novel scientific approach.”

Read more at PR Newswire.