Associated Professor Maria Isaguliants

Leading Researcher, Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia; and part-time, docent (associated prof), Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Leading Researcher, Gamaleya Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology, Moscow, Russia; Senior researcher, Chumakov Center for Research & Development of Immune and Biological Preparations RAS, Moscow, Russia.

Maria Isaguliants was awarded her Ph.D. in 1992 from the University of Fine Chemical Technology, Moscow, Russia. Her training is in bioorganic chemistry and immunology. She has been working in Moscow research institutes since 1987, at the Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology (MTC), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm since 2004, and at Riga Stradins University, since 2014. In 2007, she was promoted to associated professor (docent) at Karolinska Institutet. Since 1999, Maria’s group has been developing therapeutic vaccines against chronic viral infections, such as HIV and HCV, and lately also cancer associated with viral infections. Her group has preclinically tested novel DNA vaccines against drug resistance in HIV infection, and created murine models for testing such vaccines in mice. One of her most significant achievements was to find that introduction of drug resistance mutations in HIV genes, and, hence, encoded proteins, increases their immunogenicity and at the same time abrogates the un-desired effects, such as induction of oxidative stress, genetic instability, immune suppression, and, eventually, carcinogenicity. The role of Maria’s group was the design of DNA vaccines based on consensus amino acid sequences of viral immunogens, their construction, and generation of preclinical data on their performance. Present projects include the development of novel therapeutic vaccines against HCV-associated liver cancer based on DNA encoding nucleocapsid (core) protein of HCV and universal tumor-associated antigen Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase, and against HPV 16 for HIV infected men and women. She is an acting Editor of VACCINES (MDPI) and “Oxidative Stress and Cellular Longevity” (Hindawi) and during 2017-2019 acted as a member of the Steering Board of International Society for Vaccines. Maria has over 80 peer reviewed publications, is actively involved in training students and post-graduate students, and organized series of international research conferences in virology and vaccinology.

Maria is supported by the Latvian Science Council project 2018/2-0308, the Intramural Research Program of NIAID/NIH and Russian Fund for Basic Research 17-54-30002, and Horizon 2020 project EAVI 681137.