Waithaka Mwangi

Professor, Biotherapeutics, Vaccine, and Adjuvant Development, Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine,
Kansas State University


Waithaka Mwangi is a Professor in the Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology.  In his role, he conducts research in development of vaccines, adjuvants, and biotherapeutics for livestock and humans.  For his graduate studies, he attended Washington State University where he studied immunology and his undergraduate studies focused on biochemistry at the University of Nairobi.  Prior to his graduate studies, he served as a research associate at the International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya.  As a doctoral student, his main research interests were vaccinology and biotherapeutics.


Novel Therapeutic Bovine Ultralong Antibodies

Innovative solutions are required to address some of the most challenging human and animal diseases for which traditional methods have failed to produce effective countermeasures.  A neutralizing B-cell epitope is the fundamental unit targeted by a neutralizing antibody to confer protection.  However, some pathogens, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus [HIV] and Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Disease Syndrome [PRRSV], have a high mutation rate, such that the virus can escape antibody recognition.   However, some rare epitopes are required for crucial function, and are thus not easily mutable.  These epitopes are highly conserved among disparate strains and thus, they are targets for generating cross-protective neutralizing antibodies.  These epitopes are often hidden, masked, or only exposed when needed.  Identification of such epitopes is critical if prophylactics/therapeutic approaches to these challenging viruses are to succeed.  We have found that the cow antibody repertoire has evolved unique structural and genetic features that may help us identify and understand neutralizing epitopes on viruses. Notably, we have demonstrated that immunization of cows with well-ordered HIV gp120 antigen or whole PRRS virus elicited potent broadly neutralizing antibodies.  Overall, this approach will enable mapping of clinically relevant pathogen epitopes for development of contemporary prophylactics and or therapeutics.

View All Members