Mistilis Wins Poster Award

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A seasonal flu can spread easily from person to person. Yearly epidemics sweep through schools, nursing homes, businesses and towns, taking a destructive toll on human public health and the economy. 

Each year, flu epidemics make up to 5 million people severely ill worldwide, killing up to 500,000. In the U.S. alone, up to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, sending about 200,000 people to the hospital, and killing up to 49,000 a year. 

The flu also is very expensive, costing an estimated $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses plus $16.3 billion in lost annual earnings in this country, which shoulders a total flu-related economic burden of $87 billion.

The single best way to prevent the flu is vaccination, according to the World Health Organization as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That means Matt Mistilis should have plenty of work to do, going forward.

“It is really an exciting time right now,” says Mistilis, who recently completed his work toward a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. “We have an opportunity to make a real impact.”

For the past several years, Mistilis has worked in the lab of Mark Prausnitz at the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience on cutting edge microneedle patch technology for the painless, minimally invasive application of vaccines. 

Specifically, Mistilis has been focusing on vaccine stability. His work was recognized at the annual Georgia Bio Innovation Summit in November, when he took home the award for best poster in the Anthony Shuker Scientific Poster Session. 

His poster, entitled, “Stabilization of Influenza Vaccine in Microneedle Patches for Room-Temperature Storage,” grabbed a lot of attention because, he believes, the subject matter is easily grasped.

“People understand why this is important from a public health perspective, this idea of making sure that people get the vaccines they need,” says Mistilis, whose poster shows how he developed the formulations to keep the vaccine stable, then how he tested the stability.

The ability to retain the vaccine’s immunogenicity at elevated temperatures for more than a year will allow for cheaper and simpler vaccination campaigns. This is particularly good news for parts of the world where cold storage and accessibility to medicine are a challenge.

“It’s relatively easy to get vaccines here in the U.S.,” says Mistilis, who plans to work in the pharmaceutical industry. “But around the world, there are countries that have trouble running vaccine campaigns efficiently.” 


Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Jerry Grillo
  • Created:12/02/2015
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:10/07/2016