Scientist develops critical vaccines for human, pig diseases

Mike Zhang in his new lab where he is working on a vaccine for the porcine pandemic.

Mike Zhang in his new lab where he is working on a vaccine for the porcine pandemic.

Mike Zhang is helping pigs and humans breathe easier.

Zhang, a professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, is researching the development of a vaccine to combat a porcine pandemic that costs U.S. farmers as much as $560 million per year.

The expanded lab space in the new building will be good for productivity, he said.

He also works on developing vaccines for humans, but in a vastly different endeavor that seeks to eliminate addiction to nicotine in tobacco products.

Zhang uses a nanocarrier system that can effectively present nicotine haptens to the immune system. Haptens are small molecules that elicit an immune response when attached to a larger carrier, such as a protein.

“All of my research is very different,” said Zhang. “But it all has the potential to benefit society.”

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