By Peggy Perkins, WSU Honors College
PULLMAN, Wash. — Infections transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes, and other insects have plagued animals and affected humans for millennia. Washington State University Regents Professor of Immunology Wendy Brown is among the elite researchers in the world who develop life-changing vaccines needed to combat those diseases. Her work impacts the lives and livelihoods of millions world-wide.
At 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 22, in Honors Hall room 110, she will discuss “In the Red: Challenges for Hemoparasite Vaccine Development.” The public is invited.
Brown’s presentation kicks off this year’s Honors College Invited Lecture Series. It was created in 2013 to welcome WSU’s top researchers to discuss their work in person with an undergraduate audience, says Honors Dean M. Grant Norton.
Brown designs vaccines to stop diseases similar to human malaria, such as bovine babesiosis, which is caused by a parasite and bovine anaplasmosis which is caused by bacterium. Both thrive in hot tropical and semi-tropical climates such as in Africa, and cause anemia and persistent infections in cattle.
She identifies pathogen proteins (antigens) that can prompt an immune response in a host animal. Proteins with that ability are good candidates for use in vaccines. She and her team of WSU researchers have developed a method to rapidly screen antigens by purifying dozens of proteins in just a few weeks instead of months.
Brown has been on WSU’s veterinary medicine faculty since 1995 and was a founding faculty member of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. She has received numerous awards. In 2004, she won the Distinguished International Veterinary Immunologist Award from the International Union of Immunological Societies. It is granted every three years to honor the best veterinary immunologist in the world during that period.
She has had continuous funding from the National Institutes of Health as a principal investigator during her tenure at WSU. She is currently funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of a large consortium of scientists, to develop an improved vaccine for East Coast fever, a devastating tick-borne cattle disease in sub-Saharan Africa
In 2007, she became a fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2009, she was promoted to the rank of WSU Regents Professor, signifying attainment of the highest level of professional achievement as well as service to the university. That same year, she was invited to deliver the prestigious Distinguished Faculty Address at the spring WSU Showcase.
Brown’s PhD in immunology and her MPH in infectious disease epidemiology are from Yale University, and her BA in microbiology is from Smith College.
For more Honors College information, visit http://honors.wsu.edu.
Grant Norton, Dean, WSU Honors College, 509-335-4505
Peggy Perkins, Assistant to the Dean, WSU Honors College, 509-335-4505, firstname.lastname@example.org