Vaccine Development - Vaccine & Virus Characterization

vaccine development image

NIS has been a leader in the characterization of viruses and virus-like particles since our inception. We have completed over 2000 cryoEM projects, many of which have supported vaccine development and viral vector gene delivery programs. Our extensive TEM experience, quick turnaround and reliable workflows make NIS the company of choice for future projects. 

At NIS, we apply a variety of TEM, cryoTEM and advanced analysis tools to characterize a with variety of vaccine types, including:

  • Lipid nanoparticles
  • Virus-like particle systems
  • Protein-based systems & novel scaffolds

Vaccine Morphology

From size, shape, and interaction with adjuvants to secondary structure and conformation – vaccine morphology can heavily modulate immunogenicity, efficacy, and toxicity. Viruses and viruses components structural knowledge is heavily used in the rational design of novel antivirals and vaccines. Commonly available analytical techniques may require lengthy analysis times and generate averaged information that do not necessarily correlate with observed outcomes. 

CryoEM - a faster, sample specific method for vaccine & virus characterization

A faster, sample specific, informative, and sensitive analysis can be easily carried out using the cryoTEM facilities at NIS, which can provide for individual particles size, shape, and surface details. Statistical analysis can be used to compare batch specific properties and define correlations between, for example, manufacturing route and particle properties. For certain samples, high resolution structure determination may also be possible. For such projects, images are collected on the Titan Krios for downstream single particle analysis. Atomic details on the composition and morphology of the particles can be used to better understand, for example, aggregation processes and interactions with adjuvants or neutralizing antibodies.

Fighting SARS-CoV-2

Our NIS team has been diligently supporting global efforts to combat COVD-19. We were proud to have a small part of this effort acknowledged in the recently publication by Novavax: 

Tian, JH., Patel, N., Haupt, R. et al. SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein vaccine candidate NVX-CoV2373 immunogenicity in baboons and protection in mice. Nat Commun 12, 372 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20653-8



  • Zhao, Q., Potter, C. S., Carragher, B., Lander, G., Sworen, J., Towne, V., Abraham, D., Duncan, P., Washabaugh, M. W., & Sitrin, R. D. (2014). Characterization of virus-like particles in by cryo transmission electron microscopy. Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics, 10(3), 734–739.
  • Luque, D., & Castón, J. R. (2020). Cryo-electron microscopy for the study of virus assembly. In Nature Chemical Biology (Vol. 16, Issue 3, pp. 231–239). Nature Research.

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