Prof. Hartwell wins award for biomedical research image

May 23, 2022 — A vaccine research image captured by BME Assistant Professor Brittany Hartwell and team has won a Koch Institute Image Award, which celebrates extraordinary visuals produced through life sciences and biomedical research at MIT. Prof. Hartwell completed her post-doc in the Irvine Lab at MIT in 2021, and is continuing her immunoengineering research in her lab at the University of Minnesota.

The image showcases Hartwell’s work on developing an intranasal vaccine that can bypass multiple barriers in the nasal cavity (seen in the image in cross-section) to activate a “frontline” defense of immune cells and antibodies in the mucosa that protect against mucosally-transmitted pathogens. 

Hartwell’s research has further shown that the vaccine elicits protective immune responses against intruders such as HIV and SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID). The vaccine holds promise for potential application against other respiratory viruses that are transmitted mucosally as well.

The image is now on display at the Image Awards exhibition at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Prof. Hartwell collaborated on the image with Jason Y.H. Chang and Darrell J. Irvine.

Prof. Hartwell gives a five-minute lightning talk on the winning image along with other winners of the Koch Institute Image Awards competition.