Vaccines and Other Preventative Strategies

In an effort to advance strategies to prevent infectious diseases, faculty members within the Department of Pediatrics are actively engaged in the development and implementation of a variety of prevention strategies. Their research focuses on developing new vaccines, creating effective topical microbicides (products that can be used topically to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections), and fostering attitudes and developing systems that promote the timely delivery and use of these methods.


Xiayong Bao PhD| Associate Professor | Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Bao's research interests focus on biological roles of small non-coding RNAs (sncRNAs), especially the newly discovered sncRNA derived from tRNA, in response to viral infection and environmental stimuli. Biological function studies of sncRNAs are a burgeoning field of interdisciplinary research that crosses the path from chemistry, molecular biology, bioinformatics and computer sciences. The ultimate goal of her sncRNA research is to control viral replication or stress-induced cellular responses by regulating the expression of sncRNAs. Her other research interests include identifying the mechanisms associated with immune evasion of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and human metapneumovirus (hMPV), the two leading causes of lower respiratory tract infection in children, and developing therapeutic molecules and attenuated vaccine candidates to combat or prevent these two viral infections.

Nigel_Bourne Nigel Bourne PhD| Professor and Senor Scientist | Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Bourne is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and a Senior Scientist with the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. He received his PhD from the University of Wales (Cardiff) Institute of Science and Technology. His research focus for over twenty years has been the development and evaluation of novel vaccines and therapeutics against viral infections with an emphasis on in vivo studies in appropriate small animal models. One of the principal areas of interest has been the development, refinement, and use of mouse and guinea pig models of genital herpes disease to explore the impact of novel vaccines, antiviral agents and topical microbicides. In addition, for the past ten years, he has worked extensively with small animal models of flavivirus diseases, in particular West Nile encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis and Dengue.

Gregg N. Milligan PhD| Professor and Senor Scientist | Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Milligan is a Professor of Pediatrics and Senior Scientist with the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development. He received both his B.S. and M.S. in Biology from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, and his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He completed his fellowship in viral immunology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. His research focuses on cell-mediated immunity to viruses. As a model, we are using a genital herpes simplex virus infection of mice; the activation, effector function, and regulation of innate and acquired immunity in the female genital tract.

Richard Pyles Richard Pyles PhD | Professor and Senor Scientist | Department of Pediatrics

Dr. Pyles in a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Microbiology & Immunology and co-Director of the UTMB Assay Development Services Division in the Galveston National Lab. He received his B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from Hanover College, Indiana. He received his PhD in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry & Microbiology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Cincinnati.  He joined UTMB in 2000 as part of the establishment of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development.

Dr. Pyles’ research interests focus on the interaction of host mucosae with bacterial communities (microbiome) and pathogens that dramatically impact human health.  His career has been primarily focused on improving women’s health including the study of sexually-transmitted infections. He is currently involved in preclinical and clinical studies of devices and interventions that increase ease of use and efficacy of next generation therapies.  Recent work has led to the establishment of novel systems to study both vaginal and nasal human mucosae after colonization by transplanted microbiome communities.

TEAM Members


  • Microbicides and toll-like receptors Sexually Transmitted Infections and Topical Microbicides . NIH/NIAID. Pyles 25%, 2005-2010.Cooperative Research Center GrantPI: David Martin, LSU-HSC, New Orleans. $858,210.
  • Protection of genital mucosa and ganglia against HSV-2. NIAID/ NIH. G. Milligan, Principal Investigator, 33% effort, 9/01/05-02/28/10, Total Costs: $1,189,125.
  • Gulf South Sexually Transmitted Infections-Topical Microbicides Cooperative Research Center. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Grant No. U19 AI61972 Pyles, Co-investigator, Louisiana State University, New Orleans, LA.2004-2010.
  • Evaluation of Colposcopy for use in Vaginal Product Development, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. N01-HD-5-3407. Co-investigator Nigel Bourne - 2005-2008

Relevant Publications

  • Auslander BA, Rosenthal SL, Succop PA, Mills LM, Stanberry LR, Berstein DI (2005). Gender-specific predictors of genital herpes vaccine acceptance in a college population. International Journal of STD and AIDS: 16; 27-30.
  • Short MB. Rupp R. Stanberry LR. Rosenthal SL. Parental acceptance of adolescent vaccines within school-based health centres. Herpes. 12:23-7, 2005.
  • Rupp R. Rosenthal SL. Stanberry LR. Pediatrics and herpes simplex virus vaccines. Seminars in Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 16:31-7, 2005 Jan.
  • Lambert KC, Curran EM, Judy BM, Milligan GN, Lubahn DB, Estes DM. ERa deficiency in macrophages results in increased stimulation of CD4+ T cells while E2 acts through ERa to increase IL-4 and GATA-3 expression in CD4+ T cells independent of antigen presentation. Journal of Immunology 175: 5716-5723, 2005.
  • Bourne, N, Milligan, GN, Stanberry, LR, Stegall, R and Pyles, RB. Immunization with a Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 (HSV-2) Glycoprotein-D-Adjuvant Vaccine Reduces the Quantity but not Frequency of Viral Shedding into the Genital Tract in Guinea Pigs That Become Infected. Journal of Infectious Diseases 192:2117-23. Epub 2005 Nov 11.
  • Pyles, RB., Higgins, D, Chalk, CL, Zalar, A, Brown, C, Van Nest, G, and Stanberry, LR. 2002. Use of Immunostimulatory Sequence-Containing Oligonucleotides as Topical Therapy for Genital Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 Infection. Journal of Virology. 76:11387-11396.
  • Milligan, G. N., Meador, M. G., Chu, C-F., Young, C. G., Martin, T. L., and Bourne , N. Long-term presence of virus-specific plasma cells in sensory ganglia and spinal cord following intravaginal inoculation of herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). J. Virol. 79: 11537-11540. 2005.