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Maria Issagouliantis

Leading Researcher

Dr. Maria Issagouliantis started her research carrier as a bioorganic chemist, and throughout the years developed a profile of immunology and vaccinology research. At Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm, Sweden) she led a project group working on the development of naked DNA vaccines against chronic viral infections and cancer with financial support of the Swedish Research Fund, Horizon 2020 program, and the Swedish Institute. From 2002-2010, she acted as the Swedish co-coordinator, and in 2011-2016, act as the coordinator of the Baltic partnership “Baltic Network against life-threatening viral infections” overseeing planning, organization and management of the activities in this field in 12 institutes from Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Finland and Russia. In 2017-2018, she coordinated the Initiation Project on Innovative Strategies of Vaccination and Immunotherapy INNOVIMMUNE for 5 Baltic countries, funded by the Swedish Institute.

Since 2013 she has been working at the Riga Stradins University, in EU projects “BALTINFECT” in 2013-2015, and “VACTRAIN” as coordinator in 2016-2018. EU project VACTRAIN/“Twinning on DNA vaccines against cancer” aimed to promote research on cancer vaccines, with partners in Poland, Sweden, Latvia and Ukraine. In 2018 she was attested as the leading researcher, and received research grants of the Latvian Research Council on immunotherapy of hepatitis C related liver cancer (2018-2019) and on in vitro and in vivo assessment of the direct immunomodulatory effects of HCV proteins (2020-2021).

In Russia, she pioneered the field of DNA immunization (first paper published 1999), developed candidate consensus DNA vaccines for the supportive immunotherapy of drug resistance in HIV-1 infection on the background of HAART. Lately, her group in the Gamaleya Research Center of Epidemiology and Microbiology focused on the development of DNA vaccines against oncoproteins of human papilloma virus, mainly HPV 16, for for immunotherapy of HPV related cervical cancer. Both arms of the research were and are currently supported by grants from the Russian Science Foundation (2015-2018, application pending) and the Russian Fund for Basic Research 2015-2022, totally eight grants, including collaborative grant with National Institutes of Health 2017-2019 “Development of therapeutic vaccines against papilloma virus for HIV infected men and women”.

She has an international group of Swedish, Latvian and Russian researchers.  Her main research focus is cancer associated with chronic viral infections and development of therapeutic DNA vaccines against these forms of cancer based on combination of viral and host tumor associated antigens, such as telomerase reverse transcriptase.  Research results have been published in over 90 papers in peer-reviewed international and national research journals.