Jamal Lewis Awarded NIH Grant for Promising Young Investigators

DAVIS, Calif.; Sept. 1, 2017 – Jamal Lewis, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, has received a $1.9 million National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) for new and early-stage investigators.

The five-year grant will support work by Lewis and his research team to understand and exploit the emerging cellular phenomenon called vomocytosis – a process in which living organisms that have been previously immersed by a white blood cell are expelled without being destroyed. The research has important implications for immune system responses to pathogens.

Lewis directs the Immuno-Modulatory Biomaterials Laboratory, or Lewis Lab, at UC Davis. Lewis and his research team are currently working to develop a universally-deployable, microparticle vaccine platform as an effective, long-lasting preventative measure against infectious agents. The research and development of this platform system have the potential to significantly transform the treatment of other immune-related conditions, Lewis says.

Assistant Professor Jamal Lewis in his lab at UC Davis. Photo: Reeta Asmai/UC Davis.

Lewis joined the Department of Biomedical Engineering in July 2015. Prior to his academic appointment, he was a senior scientist at OneVax, LLC and a postdoctoral associate in the J. Crayon Pruitt Family Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida. Lewis received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Florida A&M University in 2004, his M.S. in biomedical engineering in 2007 from North Carolina State University and his Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Florida in 2012.

MIRA provides support for the nation’s highly talented and promising young researchers who are conducting laboratory investigations. The goal of MIRA is to increase the efficiency of funding by providing investigators with greater stability and flexibility in order to improve scientific productivity and increase the likelihood of important breakthroughs.