Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Vaccines, Nanotechnology, Malaria, Influenza

Major Advisor

Peter Burkhard

Associate Advisor

Charles Giardina

Associate Advisor

Mazhar I. Khan

Associate Advisor

Eric May

Field of Study

Structural Biology and Biophysics


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Nanotechnology and nanoparticles are one type of vaccine delivery system. Potentially, the most exciting nanoparticle for vaccine development is our Self-Assembling Protein Nanoparticles (SAPNs). Based off of coiled-coil oligomerization domains, SAPNs self-assemble into particles that are about the size and shape of small icosahedral viruses. Studies have demonstrated that SAPNs are effective vaccine candidates, inducing immune responses as well as protection for malaria, toxoplasmosis, influenza, and SARS. While effective, one missing component for SAPNs is the presence of an immunopotentiator. We have sought to resolve this problem by generating Self-Adjuvanted SAPNs. These SAPNs contain a small concentration of flagellin, a PAMP, known activate both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Self-Adjuvanted SAPNs closely mimic the benefits of both whole organism vaccines as well as subunit vaccines. They contain a high concentration of antigens and immunostimilatory molecules in a fixed unit like a whole organism, while being specifically targeted to only optimal vaccine targets.

Available for download on Thursday, December 18, 2025