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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Researchers take aim at AIDS, breast cancer at 4th annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

PROVIDENCE, R.I. Ė October 20, 2010 Ė The nationís top scientists in the vaccine research and development field will descend on Providence this weekend for The Institute for Immunology and Informaticsí 4th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference.

The Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the University of Rhode Island, also known as IíCubed, applies cutting edge bioinformatics tools to accelerate the development of treatments and cures for diseases like stomach and liver cancer.

Beginning Thursday, October 21, leaders in the field will meet at the URI Feinstein Providence campus to discuss the latest trends in vaccine research, vaccine delivery, clinical trials and basic immunology. The conference will continue on Friday and Saturday at the Hotel Providence, located at 139 Mathewson Street. The conference is free and open to the public.

This yearís conference will provide a great opportunity to learn about vaccines from the top researchers in the world. Among guest speakers scheduled are Dr. Niranjan Sardesai of Inovio Pharmaceuticals, who will present a clinical trial update on the therapeutic HPV vaccine. Also on the agenda is Dr. Vincent Tuohy of the Lerner College of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, whose presentation will highlight his findings on a prophylactic breast cancer vaccination. Dr. Katharine Kripke of the National Institutes of Health will provide an update on the current status of HIV vaccine research.

Joining Dr. Kripke from the NIH will be renowned immunologist Dr. Polly Matzinger, who will focus on balancing tolerance and intolerance in vaccine design. A reception and award ceremony named in Dr. Matzingerís honor will follow her presentation on Friday.

The conference comes as IíCubed continues its growth as a major research institute. IíCubed is headed by Annie De Groot, principal investigator of the $13 million National Institutes of Health-funded Translational Immunology Research and Accelerated Vaccine Development (TRIAD) program, and Denice Spero, a highly experienced drug developer. That grant helped launch IíCubed at URIís Providence Biotechnology Center. TRIAD also established De Grootís in silico (via computer simulation), in vitro and in vivo vaccine research program at the Universityís Providence campus.

More than $14 million has been dedicated to fuel applications of the gene-to-vaccine approach originally pioneered by De Grootís company, EpiVax, an approach now adopted by the IíCubed for non-commercial vaccine development programs.

For more information regarding the 4th Annual Vaccine Renaissance Conference or IíCubed, please visit