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Ding receives Michelson Prize for advancing human immunology

Microbiologist aims to develop vaccines for viral, bacterial causes of diarrhea

March 20, 2024

Siyuan Ding, PhD, an assistant professor of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has received a Michelson Prize: Next Generation Grant from the Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Immunome Project. The grants are awarded annually to innovative early-career scientists advancing human immunology, vaccine discovery and immunotherapy research for major global diseases. Ding uses innovative approaches to develop vaccines for infectious diarrhea, a leading cause of death among children worldwide.

In 2023, Ding published a paper describing a novel way to make a vaccine against norovirus — the No. 1 cause of food poisoning — by piggybacking on the highly effective vaccines for rotavirus, an unrelated virus that also causes diarrhea. With the support of the Michelson Prize, he seeks to use a similar approach to develop a vaccine for enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), the leading bacterial agent of diarrhea in infants and one for which there is no vaccine. Diarrhea caused by viruses or bacteria kills more children each day than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, so his research could have a profound impact on child mortality. For more on Ding’s work, see this video.