Michal Gazi, Ph.D.

Michal Gazi, Ph.D.

Staff Scientist I | Dr. Ricardo Carrion’s Lab | Disease Intervention & Prevention, Staff

Research Focus

Dr. Gazi has extensive training in molecular biology and genetics, with specific experience in vaccine development and antibody production. Throughout his career, Dr. Gazi always gravitated toward biomedical field as he was involved in development of vaccine against Rickettsial infections during his appointment at University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston,. Then Dr. Gazi spent two and half years working for a biotechnological company producing biosimilars and novel therapeutic antibodies. In 2016, Dr. Gazi accepted his current position at Texas Biomed where he is focused on characterization of antibody and cytokine immune responses to filovirus infection and vaccination as well as participating in Ebola vaccine contract studies performed in BSL4 laboratory.

Inside the Lab

Ebola is a rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebolavirus species. There is no FDA-approved vaccine or medicine available for Ebola at this time. Dr. Carrion’s laboratory provides advanced preclinical development of candidate vaccine and treatments for Ebolavirus disease. Samples are collected throughout the course of study until the end of the project. As a result, we have valuable array of non-human primate (Cynomolgus macaque and Rhesus macaque) samples spanning the whole immunization, infection, and recovery period from these Ebolavirus studies. This diversity of stored samples has great potential to elucidate the body defense machinery after immunization and exposure to Ebola virus.

In our current study we take advantage of state of the art Luminex technology, which allows us to screen large number of serum samples while obtaining detail measurements of intensity and quality of immune response. Specifically, we can study presence of antibody against particular Ebola virus proteins and even pinpoint the parts (epitopes) of these proteins responsible for the strongest immune response. Knowing these epitopes will greatly advance the search for vaccine candidates and monoclonal antibody treatments protecting against Ebola. Next, we will measure antibodies that neutralize and prevent Ebola virions from infecting cultured cells. Moreover, we will assess production of cytokines (small proteins that coordinate the immune system) in the same serum samples. Connecting the antibody production and cytokine release pattern with outcome (survival or non-survival) of the cohort will bring much needed information required to develop a robust Ebolavirus vaccine or treatment.

Main Technologies and Methods Used

  • Luminex and ELISA based assays
  • Quantitative RT-PCR assay development and aplications under GLP rules
  • Recombinant protein design, expression and purification
  • Design, production and purification of polyclonal antibody
  • RNA and DNA manipulation methods