Infectious disease biology and vaccine development

​​Infectious diseases are still the major challenge to human health on the global scale, inflicting enormous suffering and economic loss, as exemplified by coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Like other major infectious diseases in human history, the cost-effective and sustainable control of major infectious diseases will depend on effective vaccines. To develop an effective vaccine, it is critical to identify immunogens and protection correlates, which requires thorough understanding of host and pathogen interaction and disease pathogenesis. As part of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), we have identified cellular and molecular mechanisms by which dengue virus and malaria parasites interact and evade the host immune system. These studies have identified possible parasite molecules for vaccine development.  We have identified adjuvants for augmenting neutralizing antibody responses to dengue virus and developed immunization strategies for inducing stronger and more balanced immune responses against all four serotypes of dengue virus. We are developing an mRNA-based vaccine platform that is streamlined and validated in i) antigen identification and design, ii) targeted delivery of vaccine mRNA into the dendritic cells (DCs) for inducing potent immune responses, and iii) selection of adjuvants for enhanced neutralizing antibody response. This platform will be used for vaccine development against malaria parasites and African Swine Fever Virus (ASFV).


Ongoing projects:

  • Identification and characterization of immunogens from malaria parasites and ASFV
  • Design of immunogens that induce both cell-mediated and humoral responses
  • Evaluation of mRNA vaccines in animal models

Proposed model of immune signatures leading to high nAb responses to flavivirus infection (Bidet et al. 2019).





Join the team!

We are actively recruiting individuals, including lab technicians, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.

Please email Professor Chen ( with your interest and CV/résumé.