Mariette Barbier, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the West Virginia University School of Medicine, has received a National Institutes of Health R01 grant to identify how the vaccine that protects against Bordetella pertussis—or whooping cough—can better target the bacteria as they adapt.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases awarded her $2,610,412, over five years, to study how incorporating iron-acquisition proteins into the pertussis vaccine will make it more effective against new strains of the bacteria that—through mutation—no longer respond as well to the conventional vaccine. Her findings will serve as a proof of concept for using iron-acquisition proteins to boost the performance of other vaccines as well.

For more information on the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology, visit