Personal Statement

The Chackerian laboratory utilizes a vaccine platform technology that exploits the potent immunogenicity of virus particles. We engineer vaccines by arraying target antigens at high density onto the surface of highly immunogenic virus-like particles (VLPs). This repetitive structure allows us to induce strong antibody responses against virtually any antigen, even ones that are normally poorly immunogenic.

We have used this technology to produce vaccines against antigens from traditional targets, such as pathogens, but also to produce vaccines that target self-antigens that are involved in chronic diseases, such as heart disease and Alzheimer's. Using virus-like particles derived from RNA bacteriophage, we have developed a variety of tools to rapidly identify and develop vaccine candidates.

Areas of Specialty

Currently, the Chackerian laboratory has projects to develop novel vaccines targeting diverse pathogens (including malaria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Sin Nombre virus, and SARS-CoV-2) and vaccines for chronic diseases (including dyslipidemia, Alzheimer's, and migraines). We are funded by multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

To learn more about our work, follow us on Twitter (@chacklab)

Achievements & Awards

Jeffrey Michael Gorvetzian Endowed Professor of Biomedical Research Excellence
UNM Rainforest Innovation Fellow, 2017
Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP) Outstanding Mentor Award, 2019
Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, 2019


Meet our Research Team!

Lab Members:

  • Dr. Julianne Peabody (recently graduated PhD student)
  • Dr. Alex Francian (Post-doctoral fellow)
  • Yogesh Nepal (PhD student)
  • Alan McNolty (PhD student)
  • Dr. Lucie Jelinkova (Post-doctoral Research Scientist, Medical Student)
  • Bryce Roberts (Medical Student)


Chackerian Lab (July 2023)

Lab Alumni:

  • Dr. Zoe Hunter (PhD student), Associate Scientific Director, Oncology Early Development, AbbVie
  • Marisa Rangel Durfee (Research Technician), North American Regulatory Scientist at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
  • Dr. Brett Manifold-Wheeler (Research Technician), Lecturer, UNM Dept. of Biochemistry
  • Dr. Paul Durfee (Research Technician), Associate Director of Formulation and Delivery, Sail Biomedicines
  • Alex Medford (MS student), Biological Scientist, A-TEK Inc.
  • Dr. John O'Rourke (Research Assistant Professor), President and CEO, BennuBio Inc.
  • Dr. Jayne Christen (Post-doctoral fellow), Health Science Administrator/Program Officer, NCI/NIH
  • Dr. Mitchell Tyler (PhD student), Senior Analyst, National Center for Medical Intelligence
  • Dr. Erin Crossey (MD/PhD student), Assistant Professor, Boston University
  • Dr. Ebenezer Tumban (Post-doctoral fellow/Research scientist), Associate Professor, Texas Tech University (Amarillo)
  • Dr. Kathryn Frietze (Post-doctoral fellow/Research Assistant Professor), Associate Professor, UNM School of Medicine
  • Susan Core (Sr Research Specialist), Research Specialist, Frietze Laboratory, UNM
  • Dr. Naomi Lee (Post-doctoral fellow), Associate Professor, Northern Arizona University
  • Dr. Alemu Mogus (Post-doctoral fellow), Post-doctoral fellow, University of Virginia
  • Dr. Alexandra Belcher (Fowler) (PhD student), Scientist, Moderna Inc.
  • Ashvini Vaidya (MS student and research scientist), Medical student at Emory University
  • Temi Ajayi (Research Technician), Medical student at UNM
  • Rabia Khan (MS student), Engineering Project Lead, Sandia National Laboratory
  • Javier Leo (Research Technician), Graduate Student at MD Anderson Cancer Center/UT Health
  • Lauren Burckel (Research Technician)

Group photo.

Chackerian Lab (October 2019)

Research and Scholarship

Recent Representative publications include:
B. Chackerian and A. Remaley (2024). PCSK9 Vaccines: A promising new strategy for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia? Journal of Lipid Research. 2024 Feb 17;65(3):100524.

Romano IG, Core SB, Lee NR, Mowry C, Van Rompay KKA, Huang Y, Chackerian B, Frietze KM (2024). A bacteriophage virus-like particle vaccine against oxycodone elicits high-titer and long-lasting antibodies that sequester drug in the blood. Vaccine. 2024 Jan 25:42(3):471-480.

Fowler, A., Van Rompay, K.K.A., Sampson, M., Leo, J., Watanabe, J.K., Usachenko, J.L., Immareddy, R., Lovato, D.M., Schiller, J.T., Remaley, A.T., and B. Chackerian (2023). A virus-like particle-based bivalent PCSK9 vaccine lowers LDL-cholesterol levels in non-human primates. npj Vaccines 2023 Sep 28;8(1):142.

Peabody, J., Core, S.B., Ronsard, L., Lingwood, D., Peabody, D.S., and B. Chackerian (2024). An Approach for Antigen-Agnostic Identification of Vius-Like Particle-Displayed Epitopes that Engage Specific Antibody V Gene Regions. Methods Mol Biol. 2024;2720:55-74.

Jelínková, L., Roberts, B., Ajayi, D.T., Peabody, D.S., and B. Chackerian (2023). The Immunogenicity of a VLP-based Malaria Vaccine Targeting CSP in Pregnant and Neonatal Mice. Biomolecules 2023, Jan 19;13(2):202.

Fowler, A., Ye, C., Clarke, E. C., Pascale, J. M., Peabody, D., Bradfute, S. B., Frietze, K. M., and B. Chackerian (2023). A method for mapping the linear epitopes targeted by the natural antibody response to Zika virus infection using a VLP platform technology. Virology 579, 101-110.

Jelínková, L., Flores-Garcia, Y., Shapiro, S., Roberts, B., Petrovsky, N., Zavala, F. & B. Chackerian (2022). A vaccine targeting the L9 epitope of the malaria circumsporozoite protein confers protection for blood-stage infection in a mouse challenge model. npj Vaccines 2022 Mar 8; 7, 34.

Fowler, A., Sampson, M., Remaley, A.T., and B. Chackerian (2021). A VLP-based vaccine targeting ANGPTL3 lowers plasma triglycerides in mice. Vaccine, 2021 Sep 24;39(40):5780-5786.

Ronsard, L., Yousif, A., Peabody, J., Okonkowo, V., Devant, P., Mogus, A.T., Barnes, R., Rohrer, D., Lonberg, N., Peabody, D., Chackerian, B., and D. Lingwood (2021). Engineering an antibody V gene-selective vaccine. Frontiers in Immunology, 2021 Sep 9;12:730471

Jelínková, L., Jhun, H., Eaton, A., Petrovsky, N., Zavala, F., & B. Chackerian (2021). An Epitope-based Malaria Vaccine Targeting the Junctional Domain of Circumsporozoite Protein. npj Vaccines 2021 Jan 21;6(1):13.