65. Do vaccines work after virus mutation? w/ Virologist Natasha Duggan

With all the talk and skepticism about vaccines, it is a great time to take a sit back and evaluate the science of vaccines. Today, we have the pleasure of learning from Natasha Duggan. Natasha is a virologist whose work is centered around understanding antibodies for potential HIV treatment.

In this episode, we discuss:

-Why vaccines work after virus mutation
-The clinical trial process and how the COVID-19 vaccine was rolled out
-The types of vaccines, their structures, and how they are studied

More about Natasha

Natasha was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and immigrated to The United States at the age of 3 with her mother. She completed her grade school education in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In her last two years of high school, she participated in Project SEED where she gained her first exposure to laboratory-based sciences volunteering in a Biochemistry lab at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After high school, she moved to San Francisco, California, and received a B.A. in Psychology from the University of San Francisco.

In college, she spent her summers working in an epigenetics laboratory at Duke University examining environmental exposures and DNA methylation. Following college, Natasha spent the next three years working in a laboratory at the University of Virginia studying angiogenesis in diabetic individuals.

Deciding to continue her education she moved to New Orleans and attended Tulane University School of Public Health where she received a Master of Science in Public Health with a focus in Tropical Medicine. At Tulane, her work focused on examining and identifying salivary proteins found in mosquitos infected with the dengue virus. From here she went on to the University of Miami where she is currently completing her Ph.D. in Cell Developmental Biology. Her work focuses on isolating neutralizing antibodies against HIV and SIV as potential tools for HIV vaccine development.