Jennifer Maynard’s Work to Fight Whooping Cough Featured on National Public Radio
Associate professor Jennifer Maynard’s research group is working to develop a therapeutic vaccine to treat whooping cough—a highly contagious and dangerous disease that causes an estimated 294,000 deaths annually worldwide, primarily among young, unvaccinated children. Whooping cough is on the rise in the United States, and in Texas cases have increased 79 percent in the past two years.
The team’s work to fight this disease was recently featured on The Academic Minute, a daily National Public Radio program highlighting groundbreaking research from colleges and universities around the world. UT Austin is the top contributor of experts featured on this program, which airs on more than 40 radio stations nationwide.
In the segment, Maynard describes how her team aims to outsmart whooping cough by injecting specially engineered antibodies into a sick infant to provide “instant immunity” to the disease. In animal models, these antibodies halted progression of the disease and allowed for a much faster recovery. The team hopes these antibodies may prevent disease during outbreaks if provided before an infant becomes ill.
Maynard is an expert in biotechnology, vaccine development, protein therapeutics, applied immunology and applied microbiology. She has written more than 30 peer-reviewed papers with more than 900citations and has mentored 12 Ph.D. students. She has won numerous awards, including a Dreyfus New Faculty Award and Packard Fellowship. Dr. Maynard earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from UT Austin in 2002 and a B.A. in human biology from Stanford University in 1996.
Tags: chemical engineering, Jennifer Maynard, research, therapeutic vaccines, treatments, unvaccinated children, UT Austin, vaccinations, vaccines, whooping cough