Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Victor Huber

Second Advisor

Dr. Bernie Wone

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Chaussee


Influenza, Universal Vaccine, Ferrets, M2e


Influenza is a negative-sense, ssRNA virus composed of 8 segments, and it is responsible for numerous cases of morbidity and mortality around the globe. As of today, vaccines are the best method to limit the pathogenesis of influenza viruses. Typically, influenza vaccines tend to incorporate hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) surface proteins, and some can be complemented with a form of an adjuvant. However, HA and NA are problematic vaccine candidates due to their high susceptibility to mutate using antigenic drift and to change their genetic makeup using antigenic shift. The frequent alterations in HA and NA require a substantial amount of resources being utilized in the surveillance and subsequent bi-annual adjustment of the influenza vaccine administered to the public. To improve vaccine consistency, researchers are exploring the concept of a universal vaccine based on conserved components of the influenza virus, such as the hemagglutinin stalk and the ectodomain of the M2 (M2e) ion channel. Thus far, it has been shown that 9 out of 24 amino acids that constitute M2e are highly preserved and rarely exhibit mutations, making it a prominent candidate for vaccines. Investigating the immunogenic effects of a self-adjuvanting, liposome-based M2e vaccine in ferrets will shed light on whether M2e would be an effective vaccine candidate.



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