MGH Research Scholars Program
The MGH Research Scholars Program was established to support early career researchers with innovative yet unproven ideas that have the potential to transform the future of medicine. Funded 100% through philanthropy, this program gives researchers the freedom and flexibility they need to follow the science wherever it leads. History has shown that brilliant scientists who are given free rein to explore new frontiers make the greatest, often unexpected, advances.
Dr. Alter's research focuses on defining the pathways that result in the targeted production of “protective” antibody glycans to enhance the production of antibodies that can potently block infections.
The concept of “immunity” dates back to the fifth century BC, when individuals who recovered from the plague were described as being immune or protected from disease.
However, it was not until the early 18th century that the practice of inoculation emerged when the development of the first vaccine catalyzed the creation of the field of vaccinology.
Despite all these advances in our understanding of the immune system and our ability to make vaccines, vaccinology still relies on “mimicking” the pathogen to induce immunity, which continues to fail for many pathogens and malignancies that take millions of human lives annually.
Major paradigm shifts are needed to change vaccine design principles to generate more effective vaccines and drugs. My research aims to close the gap in our understanding of how we resist infections and malignant diseases through the development of tools to dissect the arm of the immune system that targets and kills pathogens and tumors.
I hope to develop a high-throughput pipeline to design next-generation drugs and vaccines against a remarkably broad array of diseases including cancer, and infectious and auto-immune diseases.