Nanovaccines may be small, but the nanovaccine research being conducted at Iowa State is having a huge impact on the world. Namely, this initiative is uncovering how to keep people and animals healthy — not by treating diseases but by preventing them in the first place.

Heading up this groundbreaking project is Balaji Narasimhan, Vlasta Klima Balloun professor of chemical and biological engineering at Iowa State. He’s put together an interdisciplinary team of researchers from universities, medical schools, research hospitals, federal research centers, and industry from across the country. Together, they’re designing nanovaccines that are targeting diseases, including influenza, cancer, pneumonia, and tuberculosis. “This is truly one of the dream teams working on vaccine research,” Narasimhan said.

Some Iowa State students in the labs of the faculty on this team are even getting the chance to have a hand in this trailblazing research adventure. They’re developing biodegradable polymer nanoparticles that help deliver vaccines and drugs in the body; novel animal models; and imaging techniques, all of which help humans and animals fight off diseases, including lung problems and brain ailments.

At Iowa State, students across all majors get to learn from distinguished professors like Professor Narasimhan. And it doesn’t stop there. Many of these students make groundbreaking discoveries that have a game-changing impact on our lives. Now that’s one big-time adventure.