Rogier Sanders

(Principal Investigator), Prof. PhD


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Research interests

Rogier Sanders specialises in designing novel antiviral vaccines and antibodies. One of his major contributions was the development of stabilised HIV-1 envelope protein vaccines, which are now in clinical phase testing. In addition, this approach allowed for the first high-resolution structures of HIV-1 envelope protein trimers, which was hailed by Science as a scientific breakthrough in 2013 and fuelled structure-based HIV-1 vaccine design around the globe. Importantly, Rogier Sanders innovative proline-based stabilisation method was later used in the development of vaccines against RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and recently SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19; indeed, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson have all incorporated this method into their development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and to date several hundreds of millions of people have received these vaccines, saving countless lives. His contribution to the rapid development of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines based on his seminal work with HIV-1 was acknowledged by Dr Anthony Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States) during a press conference at the White House in April 2021. Sanders provided a brief historical perspective in a mini-review.

Two additional applications of stabilised glycoprotein antigens are for sorting antigen-specific B cells and generating monoclonal antibodies. For example, an HIV-1 antibody co-discovered by Prof. Sanders is now in clinical testing for the prevention and treatment of HIV-1 infection. Moreover, Sanders co-discovered potently neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The general application is now used by countless labs around the world for a wide range of viruses.



Virology, in particular Experimental Vaccinology

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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