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OHPACT PhD student working on SARS-CoV-2 vaccine

Joyce van Bree, one of the 26 One Health PACT PhD’s, works at the Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University & Research. Joyce van Bree, one of the 26 One Health PACT PhD’s, works at the Laboratory of Virology, Wageningen University & Research.

“After finishing two specialisations of the master Biotechnology at WUR, I was excited to finally start my PhD at the department of Virology in Wageningen. I already knew quite early I wanted to stay in academics. New discoveries and the dynamic aspect of research is what excites me the most. My PhD-project is about the development of an universal vaccine for viral diseases transmitted by mosquitos. This research is part of the One Health PACT: a collaboration between 26 PhD’ers with different kinds of backgrounds. We are going to set-up a multi-sectorial and integrated plan for future mosquito-borne virus outbreaks in the Netherlands.”

“I’ve always been curious about discovering new things; like places, people, food, art and music. Last year for example, I did my second master thesis in Melbourne and I just came back, earlier than planned due to Corona, from backpacking in Colombia. Upon my return I heard that I was not allowed to start any new experiments in the lab due to Corona. However, my supervisor wrote a research proposal to develop a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 (Corona) using the same approach to create the vaccine as used for the mosquito-borne viruses in my PhD. That proposal got accepted!”

“This project focusses on developing a SARS-CoV-2 live-attenuated vaccine. This type of vaccine uses a very weakened version of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. After vaccination, the immune system will be triggered and responds by producing antibodies. This way we want to prepare the body for future Corona infections. Our strategy is a very specific and relatively fast way to create a live-attenuated vaccine, so I’m quite optimistic about it. Though we are not there yet, so the coming weeks you can find me working in the laboratories at the Wageningen Campus!”

Source: Instagram Uniwageningen, 7 april 2020