Understanding the science behind vaccines

Qiang Chen is Guestprofessor (School of Life Sciences, Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy, Arizona State University) and holds the lecture blocked from 16th -27th May in hybrid manner. Please register now via bokuonline.


  • Viral infection mechanism and immunological response
  • Induction of specific immune response (epitope profiling)
  • Biotechnology innovations in vaccine development (nucleic acid-, protein and vector based)
  • How to approach temperature stability, needle-free delivery, and simplicity of manufacture
  • The long and winding road to approval

Learning outcomes:

  • Students enrolled in this course should
  • gain a comprehensive understanding of the science (e.g. virology, immunology, vaccinology) behind various vaccines.
  • be able to critically evaluate current vaccines and vaccine platforms.
  • be able to propose innovative ideas of new vaccine candidates.

About Professor Chen

Qiang “Shawn” Chen is a molecular biologist who specializes in developing novel human therapeutics and vaccines in plants to combat infectious diseases, cancer, and biological warfare agents. His research aims to ameliorate diseases and improve human health as well as to contribute new knowledge to the basic understanding of how gene expression and protein modification are regulated in plants.

Professor Chen and his team use rational design strategies to develop biologics that possess superior efficacy and safety. Flavivirus therapeutics and vaccine development and the modulation of antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) of viral infections are part of their research focus. His team has developed monoclonal antibody (MAb) variants in plants that have shown promise in improving brain targeting, eliminating ADE, and enhancing efficacy against West Nile, Dengue and Chikungunya virus compared to their parent MAbs. The disease targets also include SARS-CoV-2, Zika virus, Ebola virus and colorectal cancer.

In addition, Professor Chen has expertise in QA/QC and biochemistry research under FDA’s cGMP regulations, drawn from his more than a decade of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry directing research in both plant and mammalian cell culture systems. He is interested in mentoring students and scientists in these areas of translational research for conducting human clinical trials.

Read more about Professor Chen and his research fields online:


Host: Herta Steinkellner (Department of Applied Genetics and Cell Biology)

Please register now via bokuonline for VO 940001 (3 ECTS).