Vaccines and Development

Georgia’s research universities and medical schools have earned a leadership position in vaccine and immunology research and development. Expertise ranges from fundamental understanding of T and B cell function and immune memory, to identification of novel therapeutic targets, to micro-needle vaccine delivery and nanoparticle technology for rapid diagnosis of viral infections.


The Georgia Research Alliance supports the state’s universities to recruit top scientific talent from around the world as GRA Eminent Scholars. Among those well-known for their breakthrough research in vaccines and immunology are:

  • Rafi Ahmed, Ph.D. – has made significant discoveries about how immune memory cells are created and how long they survive (Emory University)
  • Allan Kirk, M.D., Ph.D. – is developing approaches to minimizing dependence on immunosuppressant drugs in organ transplantation (Emory University)
  • Ralph Tripp, Ph.D. – is focused on infectious diseases at the intersection of animal and human health (University of Georgia)
  • Andrew Mellor, Ph.D. – has identified the mechanisms that turn the immune system on or off, and management of these mechanisms to fight cancer, autoimmune, and other diseases (Georgia Health Sciences University)

Researchers in Georgia are developing vaccines for cancer, HIV/AIDS, influenza and various other diseases affecting both humans and animals.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the premier public health institute worldwide, with global programs in immunization and disease prevention.

Emory Vaccine Center (EVC) is one of the world’s largest academic vaccine research centers; it offers extensive expertise in cellular immunity and immune memory. In collaboration with the Center for AIDS Research, scientists at the EVC are also leaders in HIV/ AIDS research and vaccine development. The HIV drug Emtriva is a breakthrough treatment developed at Emory.

University of Georgia Animal Health Research Center is one of the most technologically advanced university facilities in the nation concentrating on research into diseases that affect both animals and humans – for example, avian flu, SARS and West Nile virus.

Georgia State University’s Viral Immunology Center houses the federal laboratory that provides rapid diagnosis of herpes B virus infections. The center offers high-throughput drug screening within unique, high containment laboratory suites that are classified as BSL-4.

The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of Georgia Health Sciences University’s Cancer Research Center investigates and develops strategies that help the immune system fight cancer.

Other specialized centers include the following:

  • The Atlanta Clinical and Translational Science Institute, an NIH-funded collaboration of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, and Morehouse School of Medicine, focuses on moving vaccines and others therapies quickly from bench to bedside.
  • The Center for Drug Design, Development and Delivery at the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed micro-needle and other technologies for vaccine delivery.
  • The Yerkes National Primate Research Center of Emory University is one of only eight NIH–funded national primate research centers.
  • The Emory-University of Georgia Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center is one of five national Influenza Centers of Excellence funded by NIH/NIAID.
  • The Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU) at Emory University is one of eight NIH/NIAID- funded VTEUs in the nation.

Georgia’s growing cluster of vaccine and immunotherapy companies have ready access to state resources that help companies thrive:

  • A robust pipeline of qualified workers and specialized training programs tailored to specific company needs
  • Unsurpassed logistics networks that extend a company’s reach worldwide and meet the specialized distribution needs of the industry
  • A demographically diverse population and an array of healthcare systems experienced in managing clinical trials
  • R&D and Quality Jobs Tax Credits and specialized Sales and Use Tax exemptions



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E. Jane Caraway



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