Rino Rappuoli, PhD, is Global Head of Vaccines Research at Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, based in Siena, Italy.
EDUCATION AND BACKGROUND:
He earned his PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Siena and has served as a visiting scientist at Rockefeller University in New York and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
AWARDS AND MEMBERSHIPS:
He was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and was awarded the Gold Medal by the Italian President for contributions to public healthcare in 2005. In 2009, he received the Albert B Sabin Gold Medal for his work in the field of reverse vaccinology and in 2010 the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Institute of Human Virology in Maryland.
He has published more than 500 works in peer-reviewed journals.
He introduced several novel scientific concepts, the names of which became popular. Examples are the concept that bacterial toxins can be detoxified by manipulation of their genes (genetic detoxification, 1987), the concept that microbes are better studied in the context of the cells they interact with instead of artificial laboratory conditions (cellular microbiology, 1996), the use of genomes to develop new vaccines (reverse vaccinology, 2000), the observation that the genome of a species (pangenome, 2005) is larger than the genome of an organism of the same species.
Several molecules he worked with became part of licensed vaccines. He characterized a molecule, CRM197, that today is the most widely used carrier for vaccines against H. influenzae, N. meningitidis and pneumococcus vaccines, and is used multiple times to vaccinate most children of the globe. Then he developed a vaccine against pertussis by engineering B. pertussis to produce a non-toxic pertussis toxin antigen. This was the first rationally designed molecule approved for human use. Later he developed the first conjugate vaccine against meningococcus C that eliminated the disease in the UK in 2000. He pioneered the use of genomic information for vaccine development (reverse vaccinology). The first genome-derived vaccine against meningococcus B is now in Phase III clinical trials, several others are in earlier stages of development. Finally, in 1997 he obtained the regulatory approval for MF59, the first vaccine adjuvant approved for human use after the approval of aluminium salts in the 1920s. MF59 is now being used in many other experimental vaccines, the most advanced of which is a vaccine against pandemic influenza.
In the role of Faculty Member, Rino Rappuoli contributes recommendations and reviews to the Medical Microbiology Section in the Microbiology Faculty, writing brief accessible comments to summarize the value of the articles and adding rating score.
The Faculty comprises Heads of Faculty, Heads of Section, Faculty Members and Associate Faculty Members, as well as an International Advisory Board.
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