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Featured Inventor: James Galen, PhD

Thursday, June 6, 2024

James Galen, PhD, adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), is a prolific and innovative researcher: since joining UMSOM in 1993, he has been named on nearly 60 issued patents and about 50 publications.

A leading expert in live vector vaccines, much of his work has focused on the application of novel engineering technologies to the development of these therapies. Live vector vaccines employ genetic engineering strategies to attenuate disease-causing bacteria and optimize their use as live vectors for delivering foreign antigens to the immune system.

Dr. Galen has developed state-of-the-art plasmid-based as well as chromosomal-based expression systems for delivery of these foreign antigens, including: a novel ClyA-mediated antigen export system; a plasmid stabilization and selection system (using ssb), which removes the need for plasmid selection using antibiotics and further guarantees plasmid retention in vivo after introduction into live vector strains.

One of Dr. Galen’s most recent developments is a culmination of years of research: a bacterial outer membrane-based vesicle platform (MVP) technology that is a versatile expression system which efficiently lends itself to various immunotherapeutic approaches against infectious and other diseases. Irazú Oncology, an early-stage therapeutics company located in the UM BioPark, licensed the MVP technology from UMB in 2022 to advance its next-generation cancer vaccine platform.