schoolscolleges2020 hed news

Author: Jeff Y Yeban, MMC Intern 2023-2024

     Xavier University - McKeough Marine Center (XU-MMC) hosted an online talk via Zoom last 22 March 2024. An exciting and novel topic in the realm of immunology was unveiled through the BioTalk titled “Designing Multi-Epitope Subunit Vaccine using In Silico Approaches” by guest speaker Dr Nyzar Mabeth O Odchimar. The online BioTalk was attended by the XU Biology faculty, and Marine Biology students. Dr Maria Rhotsyn Dacar, the research coordinator, gave the opening remarks.

     Dr Nyzar Mabeth Odchimar is a graduate of our very own BS Biology program and served as faculty here from 2020 to 2022. In 2021, she earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Biology from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT). Currently, Dr Odchimar is a DOST-SEI Career Incentive Program (CIP) research fellow under the DOST-ITDI Virology and Vaccine Research and Development Program. Dr Odchimar is highly involved in cancer research, immunoinformatics, ethnobotany, natural products, and virology.

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Dr Odchimar starts her presentation by sharing the novelty of the topic

    Dr Odchimar elucidated the term multi-epitope vaccine, which she defined as a vaccine containing a collection of selected epitopes that target a wider range of pathogenic strains, making it safer, highly specific, and immunogenic. Dr Odchimar also stressed the fast and cost-effective benefits of using in silico approach – a method that uses computational techniques or tools. Moreover, she used the timely SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) as an example to showcase how potentially valuable multi-epitope vaccines are in fighting against hypervariable, fast-mutating viruses. Dr Odchimar then delved deep into the general methodology involved in her endeavor, which involved retrieving proteomes from genome databases like NCBI, screening, vaccine construction, and immune response simulation. Towards the end of her talk, Dr Odchimar addressed the participants’ curiosity during the Q&A portion. Her illuminating responses left her participants further intrigued by the nature of multi-epitope subunit vaccines and the use of in silicoapproach in vaccine work. Dr Odchimar’s talk inspires her listeners, especially the undergraduates, to incorporate in silico vaccine design studies into their theses.

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Dr Odchimar discusses in silico-based approach in vaccine development