Dr. Jung's endowed chair will support his research into infectious diseases and virus-induced cancers.
Jae Jung, PhD, chair of the Department of Cancer Biology and director of the Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health, has been named the Betsy B. deWindt Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology.
"At Cleveland Clinic, our robust clinical and research infrastructure enables us to develop innovative and novel approaches to uncover the mechanisms of infectious agents and virus-induced cancers and ultimately make a difference in the lives of our patients," says Dr. Jung. "I am excited and honored to continue this mission and be appointed to the Betsy B. deWindt Endowed Chair in Cancer Biology."
As chair of the Department of Cancer Biology, Dr. Jung leads a team of accomplished researchers in a wide range of cancer research areas including prostate cancer, glioblastoma and cancer stem cells. His cancer research focuses on virus-induced cancers, including Kaposi's sarcoma, the most common tumor in patients with AIDS. Dr. Jung was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Investigator Award by the National Cancer Institute in 2016 for his work in this area.
In addition to cancer research, Dr. Jung is an internationally-renowned expert in virology and serves as the director of Cleveland Clinic's Global Center for Pathogen Research & Human Health, where he leads virology, immunology and oncology researchers working to make laboratory discoveries about how pathogens spread and cause disease.
As part of the Global Center, Dr. Jung has several research projects related to coronaviruses, including vaccine and drug development. He developed one of the first preclinical models to study SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission to lead to the development of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate. His vaccine work utilizes nanoparticles that compel the coronavirus to use its own surface protein to produce antibodies that block viral infection. The hope is that this approach will have fewer side effects than other vaccines, especially among the older population that is particularly susceptible to COVID-19.
The funds, the first to go to Cleveland Clinic’s new Center for Global and Emerging Pathogens, will support Dr. Jung’s work to test four vaccine candidates against the virus that causes severe fever with thrombocytopenia.
Nanoparticle vaccines are designed to effectively deliver a lower dose with fewer side effects for at-risk people.
Putting forth multiple candidates with different side effects and dosing schedules aims to provide more options for preventing public health threats.