Department of Chemistry

PhD student wins prize for work on thermally stable vaccines

Fri Oct 28 13:03:00 BST 2016

Annett Trust funded PhD student, Aswin Doehkie has won the Best Student Contribution prize at the 24th International Conference on Bio-Encapsulation.


He was awarded the prize for his work on ensilication of tetanus toxoid protein. This protein is part of a DTP vaccine administered to almost every child around the world.

Today, vaccines are very susceptible to temperature changes so have to be refrigerated. This makes delivery of vaccines to remote locations difficult and sometimes impossible due to the lack of infrastructure.

Aswin said: “Our research aims to establish a working methodology that can prevent thermal degradation of vaccines and improve the availability of effective vaccines in developing countries. This award reflects the dedication of our group to this project.”

Aswin's supervisors, Dr Asel Sartbaeva, Dr Jean van den Elsen and Dr Françoise Koumanov (pictured right), said: “Aswin’s work shows that tetanus toxoid can be stabilised in silica for room temperature storage and transport, which is an important step towards the future where vaccines will be transported and storage around the globe with no refrigeration. This will save money, environment and most importantly millions of lives.”

The annual conference brings together scientists, students and industry to exchange information on bio-encapsulation. It was held at the University of Lusófona in Lisbon, Portugal between 21-23 September.