Press Releases Information

View releases on a broad range of topics including scientific research, new faculty, VGTI Florida’s Scientific Advisory Board, community outreach and educational initiatives in St. Lucie County including The Summer Undergraduate Research Foundation (SURF) Program, grants, funding and philanthropy, special speaker series, strategic partnerships, intellectual property and publications. VGTI Florida® welcomes media inquires and can arrange tours and interviews for qualified journalists with Principal Investigators on a range of topics with advance notice.


The Vaccine and Gene Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) announced today that the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded VGTI Florida scientists Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D. and Dr. Elias Haddad, Ph.D. U.S. Patent No. 8,647,822 titled DETERMINING WHETHER A TEST COMPOUND MODULATES PD-1 ACTIVITY IN ACTIVATED IMMUNE CELLS USING GENE EXPRESSION PROFILES.
PD-1 Gene Expression Profiles for Drug Development US Patent Awarded to VGTI Florida® Scientists

The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) hosted a delegation of medical scientists from the Karolinska Institutet for a research symposium titled “Innovative Approaches to Treating the Diseases of Aging”, held on February 5th-6th, 2014. Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, is world renowned for bestowing the annual Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Over the course of two days, researchers from VGTI Florida and Karolinska University, along with guest speakers from across North America, presented on topics that focus on diseases of aging. The symposium was one of the first steps that VGTI Florida is taking towards developing the Center for Diseases of Aging (CDA) at their location in Port St. Lucie, FL. The CDA will be a platform for scientists from VGTI Florida to find solutions to health issues in the aging population in collaboration with scientists from Karolinska Institutet and other medical research institutions around the world...

VGTI Florida® Scientists Awarded 3.8MM NIH Grant For HIV Research

By: VGTI Florida®
Date: February 6, 2014
A team of scientists from the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI Florida) has recently been awarded a sizeable five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The team lead by Dr. Lydie Trautmann, Ph.D includes Drs. Elias Haddad, Ph.D. and Nicolas Chomont, Ph.D. will study newly HIV infected patient’s earliest immune response to antiretroviral therapy (ART) before the virus causes damage to the patient’s immune system. The VGTI Florida research team will be collaborating with scientists in Thailand led by Dr. Jintanat Ananworanich, M.D., Ph.D., Deputy Director of Scientific Affairs at the HIV Netherlands Australia Thailand Research Collaboration (HIV-NAT) as well as the Associate Director for HIV Therapeutics Research at the US Military HIV Research Program in Maryland, USA. It is becoming increasingly evident that ART is not a long-term solution for HIV infected patients because it has been associated with cardiovascular diseases and other serious complications.

Once again this year, the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) has partnered with the St. Lucie County School District to bring an exciting educational experience to students in local schools by providing a real-world science learning opportunity. "Saturdays with Scientists" was designed for fifth-grade students, and features a hands-on laboratory experience, highlighting a key scientific concept in their current science curriculum. Students get to work side by side with VGTI Florida scientists and learn how scientists actually work. Participating students spend two and a half hours working in a laboratory at VGTI Florida to perform actual experiments. Two VGTI Florida staff scientists assist with the experimental protocol and execution of the lesson plan. “We are proud to have the opportunity to be involved with and encourage the next generation of scientists right here on the Treasure Coast,” said Richard Jove, Ph.D....
VGTI Florida Excites Young Students About Science with “Saturdays with Scientists” Program

VGTI Florida Hosts Scientific Delegates from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet

By: VGTI Florida®
Date: October 29, 2013
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – October 29, 2013 – Scientists from the medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI), Stockholm, Sweden met with researchers at the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida®) in Port St. Lucie, Florida for a three-day visit this October. Karolinska Institutet and VGTI scientists discussed opportunities for the development of collaborations between the two organizations to further both institutes’ research programs. During the in-depth meetings, the researchers focused on how their respective basic and clinical research capabilities in inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular, and infectious disease research could complement and enhance each other, potentially leading to the development of novel therapeutics for difficult human diseases. Of particular interest is the impact of aging on the functioning of the immune system on disease, and the responses to therapy. Participants noted that there were many parallels to discuss...

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – September 12, 2013 – The Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida®) is proud to announce Ted Ross, Ph. D., Program Director of Vaccines and Viral Immunity was awarded a $2 million sub-award grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health to study immune and genetic responses to influenza as we age. “This study will give us answers that will assist us in understanding the difference between how people of different age groups respond to seasonal flu vaccine”, said Dr. Ted Ross. His research team will be studying the reactions in young children, adults, and the elderly to influenza infection so an improved, more protective flu vaccine can be developed for all age groups. VGTI Florida is one of four institutions along with the University of Pittsburgh, the lead, Mount Sinai School of Medicine-New York, and University Health Network-Toronto, collaborating...

Port St. Lucie, FL – September 5, 2013 - PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Six college undergraduates from around the nation presented their research findings from their eight-week Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida) in front of their peers and mentor VGTI Florida Principle Investigators. VGTI Florida’s fellowship program is designed to give qualified undergraduate students the opportunity to work directly with Principal Investigators and the scientific staff at VGTI Florida. The program paired the students with a VGTI Florida scientific mentor that provided them with an opportunity to work within scientific environment to promote their interest in scientific educational and research activities. Kayanna Johnson from Indian River State College presented her findings on work she conducted in Dr. Keith Knutson’s lab on breast cancer stem cells. Brian Richardson from Indian River State College focused...

Mr. Kevin Kelly Joins VGTI Florida Board of Directors

By: VGTI Florida®
Date: July 31, 2013
Port St. Lucie, FL – July 23, 2013 – The Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida®) is delighted to announce the election of Mr. Kevin Kelly to their Board of Directors. Mr. Kelly brings extensive experience and perspective in high-level multinational business and finance management to the Institute. Mr. Kelly spent 35 years with the Volkswagen Group of America, most recently as the President and CEO of Volkswagen Credit, Inc. from 2000 to 2011, as well as Executive VP of Volkswagen of America, Inc. from 2004 to 2011. “Kevin is a wonderful addition to the Institute’s Board of Directors,” said Dr. Richard Jove, Director of VGTI Florida. “Our Institute is made up of such a dynamic group of scientists and administrators, and our expanding Board of Directors definitely reflects this.” While at Volkswagen of America, Inc., Mr. Kelly assumed additional responsibilities for the Volkswagen Group’s Financial Services operations in Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil....
Mr. Kevin Kelly Joins VGTI Florida Board of Directors

VGTI Florida® Scientist Selected for a Peer-Review Panel for the National Institutes of Health Keith Knutson, Ph.D., Program Director, Oncology, of the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida™) was selected as a new committee member to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Tumor Microenvironment (TME) Study Section with the Center for Scientific Review (CSR).
VGTI Florida® Scientist Selected for a Peer-Review Panel for the National Institutes of Health