Lijuan Yuan, professor of virology and immunology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, has been awarded an NIH R01 grant to address a significant gastrointestinal infectious problem by way of an innovative approach.

TITLE
Preventing norovirus and Clostridium difficile gastroenteritis by engineered probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii secreting multi-specific single-domain antibodies

FUNDING AGENCY

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) / National Institutes of Health (NIH)

TOTAL AWARD
$3,275,651
Award to Lijuan Yuan: $1,547,822
Direct: $967,123
Indirect: $580,699

DURATION OF AWARD
1/22/2020 - 12/31/2024

KEY FACULTY PERSONNEL
PI: Lijuan Yuan (MPI); Hangping Feng (contact PI), University of Maryland at Baltimore
Co-I: Viviana Parreño, National Agricultural Technology Institute (INTA), Argentina

SIGNFICANCE
Human norovirus and Clostridium difficile represent two leading causes of acute gastroenteritis worldwide with significant morbidity and mortality. Despite great efforts in the development of vaccines against both infections, to date there is still no vaccine available on the market. NIAID, NIH awarded a five year R01 to the collaborative team of Dr. Lijuan Yuan at Virginia Tech, Dr. Hangping Feng at University of Maryland at Baltimore, and Dr. Viviana Parreño at INTA, Argentina, to develop a novel prophylaxis using genetically engineered probiotic Saccharomyces boulardii to secrete “Sb-aNoVCd”, multi-specific single-domain VHH antibodies against both noroviruses and Clostridium difficile toxins. The encapsulated Sb-aNoVCd will be used orally for the prevention and treatment of human norovirus and Clostridium difficile gastroenteritis.