Researchers at UTMB are the first to use a combination of genomics and immunoinformatics approaches that could lead to vaccines against a dangerous bacterial pathogen commonly transmitted through contaminated beef. These findings are especially timely as new strains of the bacterium — known as Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7 — have been associated with more severe and lethal disease in humans. “There is a real need to discover novel vaccine candidates against diarrheal diseases caused by pathogenic E. coli strains,” said lead study author Dr. Alfredo Torres of UTMB’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “Our approach helped identify several antigens specific to the O157 strain that we are using to develop an optimal vaccine.”