Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

McGettigan, James

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James P. McGettigan, PhD

Contact Dr. McGettigan

1020 Locust Street
JAH 466
Philadelphia, PA 19107

(215) 503-4629
(215) 923-7144 fax

Research and Clinical Interests

The World Health Organization and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations report that almost 27 million people do not receive vaccines that are available and needed.  Due to cost, complicated vaccine strategies and lack of availability, over two million deaths occur annually for otherwise preventable disease. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries, where it is clear that novel vaccines are needed. In addition, simple and less expensive vaccination strategies are also desirable for industrialized countries, where health care costs are becoming a major burden on the medical infrastructure. Therefore, it is our goal to create a new class of vaccines that are simple to administer, inexpensive and effective for use in both industrialized and developing countries.

Our laboratory is interested in identifying new vaccine platforms for use against human rabies virus infections. Rabies remains a global public health threat that kills an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 people per year. However, recent studies indicate that human rabies deaths may be up to 100 times higher than officially reported. It is the seventh most important infectious disease world-wide since it largely affects children. In 2006, rabies was the leading cause of death due to an infectious disease in China. Our vaccine is based on recombinant replication-deficient RV-based vectors, in which one of its five essential genes are deleted. These vectors are very safe and highly immunogenic, and may prove effective alternative vaccines against rabies virus. We are also investigating the use of our vaccines against other globally important infectious diseases, such as HIV-1 and influenza virus.

To support our vaccine research, we are investigating host innate and humoral immune responses to viral pathogens. Specifically, we are investigating the role for alternative antibody effector functions in vaccine design. Conventional vaccines work by inducing neutralizing antibodies that prevent infection. However, antibodies exert their anti-viral effects through a variety of mechanisms. Our laboratory is looking at how non-neutralizing antibody exert alternative antibody effector functions that can influence the outcome of vaccination. We can use this knowledge to rationally design future vaccine candidates.


Most Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications

  1. APRIL:TACI axis is dispensable for the immune response to rabies vaccination
  2. Targeting vaccine-induced extrafollicular pathway of B cell differentiation improves rabies postexposure prophylaxis
  3. Lymph node but not intradermal injection site macrophages are critical for germinal center formation and antibody responses to rabies vaccination
  4. A Bivalent, Chimeric Rabies Virus Expressing Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Envelope Induces Multifunctional Antibody Responses
  5. Safety and serological response to a matrix gene-deleted rabies virus-based vaccine vector in dogs
  6. ICAM-1-based rabies virus vaccine shows increased infection and activation of primary murine B cells In Vitro and enhanced antibody titers In-Vivo
  7. Reinvestigating the role of igM in rabies virus postexposure vaccination
  8. B cell infection and activation by rabies virus-based vaccines
  9. Comparison of Heterologous Prime-Boost Strategies against Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Gag Using Negative Stranded RNA Viruses
  10. Investigating the Role for IL-21 in Rabies Virus Vaccine-induced Immunity
  11. Experimental rabies vaccines for humans
  12. Characterization of a single-cycle rabies virus-based vaccine vector
  13. The cell biology of rabies virus: Using stealth to reach the brain
  14. Rabies virus-based vaccines elicit neutralizing antibodies, poly-functional CD8+T cell, and protect rhesus macaques from AIDS-like disease after SIVmac251challenge
  15. Replication-deficient rabies virus-based vaccines are safe and immunogenic in mice and nonhuman primates
  16. Interferon-β expressed by a rabies virus-based HIV-1 vaccine vector serves as a molecular adjuvant and decreases pathogenicity
  17. Immune modulating effect by a phosphoprotein-deleted rabies virus vaccine vector expressing two copies of the rabies virus glycoprotein gene
  18. Infection of monocytes or immature dendritic cells (DCs) with an attenuated rabies virus results in DC maturation and a strong activation of the NFκB signaling pathway
  19. Highly attenuated rabies virus-based vaccine vectors expressing simian-human immunodeficiency virus89.6PEnv and simian immunodeficiency virusmac239Gag are safe in rhesus macaques and protect from an AIDS-like disease
  20. A single immunization with a recombinant canine adenovirus expressing the rabies virus G protein confers protective immunity against rabies in mice