2021 AMI Online Salon

How mRNA/Lipid Nanoparticle Vaccines Stimulate Immunity

Project Details

  • Entrant Name:  David Ehlert
  • Other Contributors Regina Milner, Inessa Stanishevskaya
  • Client: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Copyright: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2021
  • Medium/software used: Adobe Illustrator
  • Final presentation format: Presentation image
  • Primary Audience: Sophisticated investors in global health

Project Description

The challenge involved visualizing the diverse and time-ordered array of inter- and intracellular events that are required for an mRNA/lipid nanoparticle vaccine to mount an effective immune response. We approached this challenge by outlining the journey of a vaccine injected into the deltoid muscle to the lymph node. In the lymph node, we focused on the immunological synapse between an antigen-presenting cell (APC) and a CD8+ T cell, CD4+ T cell, and B cell. At these synapses, the integration of signals between various receptors, molecules, and peptides leads to the adaptive immune response. Biologic variability can arise at each one of these signal interactions, and the desired immune response to the vaccine can be compromised. The illustration intended to educate sophisticated investors in global health about the complexity of vaccines today and start a conversation about simplifying vaccines to create a more universally effective vaccine for the future.