Faculty Advisor

Shan Lu

Faculty Advisor

David Adams

Faculty Advisor

Samuel Politz


An effective antibody response is essential for immunity against influenza virus infection and is the primary goal for vaccine development. In this study, codon optimized and wild type DNA vaccines expressing hemagglutinin (HA) antigens of human flu viruses A/H1N1/NewCal/20/99 (H1 serotype) were compared to test the antigenic differences of the constructs in mammalian systems. Furthermore, to determine if a prime-boost immunization strategy was more effective in eliciting a greater immune response, a codon optimized HA vaccine was administered as a prime in conjunction with the trivalent inactivated vaccine (TIV), Fluzone, as a boost and immune responses were measured. We found that protein expression and antibody response levels of HA antigens were increased with the codon optimized construct when compared to the wild type HA gene construct. Prime-boost vaccination of NZW rabbits was able to elicit a greater immune response when compared to TIV alone as measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), hemagglutinin inhibition (HI) and neutralizing antibody (NAb) assays. Together, these studies indicate that optimal HA DNA vaccine formulations should be codon optimized and can be used as part of a prime-boost vaccination strategy.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Biology & Biotechnology

Project Type


Date Accepted





DNA, Vaccine, Immunology, Virology, Influenza, Antibody, Virus, Influenza vaccines, DNA vaccines