Center for Vaccines and Immunology
Senior Research Professor

Annie De Groot is CEO of EpiVax, Professor at University of Georgia, Volunteer Medical Director of Clinica Esperanza, and Scientific Director of GAIA Vaccine Foundation. She is a Smith College graduate (1978) and MD trained at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine (1983). She did her residency in Internal Medicine and specialized in Infectious Disease at New England Medical Center and was a National Health Service Corps Scholar at the National Institutes of Health from 1986 to 1989. She has both laboratory bench (NIH) and field experience in vaccine research and vaccination campaigns (in former Zaire, the Gambia, and Mali). Having experienced both the beauty of discovery in bench research and the thrill of improving patient lives through her field and clinical work, De Groot has stayed active in the clinic while pursuing an active research career.

De Groot joined the faculty at Brown University in 1993, where she began to develop the cutting edge computational vaccine design tools for which she is well known. In 1998, De Groot and two partners founded EpiVax, Inc. and she licensed the first versions of these computational tools to the new company. De Groot has served as CEO/CSO of EpiVax since the company’s inception. With co-founder Bill Martin, she has established EpiVax as a leading company in the field of immunoinformatics, working with a wide range of global clients and partners to improve the design of vaccines and biologics and improving human health everywhere.

De Groot moved her academic affiliation from Brown University to the University of Rhode Island in 2009. She was named director of URI’s Institute for Immunology and Informatics and was subsequently awarded $13M in funding from the NIH to develop the ‘iCubed’ as a center of excellence in computational vaccinology. In 2020, she joined the Center for Vaccines and Immunology at the University of Georgia, under Director Ted Ross. De Groot is the author more than 190 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of computational vaccinology, biodefense, personalized vaccines, and immunology.

In September 2017, De Groot and her business partner Bill Martin launched EpiVax Oncology Inc. to focus on the emerging field of immune-oncology. EpiVax Oncology will develop personalized cancer vaccines based on the patient’s own tumor genome. Should De Groot succeed in translating these concepts to the clinic, she will have realized her lifelong dream, which is to make individually tailored vaccines that are safe, highly efficient, and accessible worldwide. De Groot has won numerous awards, including the Smith Medal in 2013, was recognized as one of the 50 most influential people in vaccinology in 2014, and named Biotech CEO of the Year at the 2016 Vaccine Industry Excellence (ViE) Awards. She won an award for her contributions to research and medicine at her alma mater, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, in 2018.

Research Interests

‘-Immunoinformatics, protein therapeutics, immunogenicity
-Vaccine Design, Infectious Disease (HIV/TB/Malaria and biodefense)
-Parasitology/Tropical Medicine (more remote)
-Improving access to health care for marginalized populations in the U.S. and the developing world

Educational Background

‘-MD (1983) Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago
-BA (1978) Smith College

Selected Publications

Richard G, Princiotta MF, Bridon D, Martin WD, Steinberg GD, De Groot AS. Neoantigen-based personalized cancer vaccines: the emergence of precision cancer immunotherapy. Expert Rev Vaccines. 2022 Feb;21(2):173-184. doi: 10.1080/14760584.2022.2012456. Epub 2021 Dec 19. PMID: 34882038.

Giorgetti SI, Etcheverrigaray M, Terry F, Martin W, De Groot AS, Ceaglio N, Oggero M, Mufarrege EF. Development of highly stable and de-immunized versions of recombinant alpha interferon: Promising candidates for the treatment of chronic and emerging viral diseases. Clin Immunol. 2021 Dec;233:108888. doi: 10.1016/j.clim.2021.108888. Epub 2021 Nov 17. PMID: 34798238; PMCID: PMC8595249.

Winterling K, Martin WD, De Groot AS, Daufenbach J, Kistner S, Schüttrumpf J. Development of a novel fully functional coagulation factor VIII with reduced immunogenicity utilizing an in silico prediction and deimmunization approach. J Thromb Haemost. 2021 Sep;19(9):2161-2170. doi: 10.1111/jth.15413. Epub 2021 Jun 30. PMID: 34060724; PMCID: PMC8456792.

Kotraiah V, Phares TW, Terry FE, Hindocha P, Silk SE, Nielsen CM, Moise L, Tucker KD, Ashfield R, Martin WD, De Groot AS, Draper SJ, Gutierrez GM, Noe AR. Identification and Immune Assessment of T Cell Epitopes in Five Plasmodium falciparum Blood Stage Antigens to Facilitate Vaccine Candidate Selection and Optimization. Front Immunol. 2021 Jul 7;12:690348. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.690348. PMID: 34305923; PMCID: PMC8294059.

De Groot AS, Desai AK, Lelias S, Miah SMS, Terry FE, Khan S, Li C, Yi JS, Ardito M, Martin WD, Kishnani PS. Immune Tolerance-Adjusted Personalized Immunogenicity Prediction for Pompe Disease. Front Immunol. 2021 Jun 16;12:636731. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.636731. PMID: 34220802; PMCID: PMC8242953.

Noe AR, Terry FE, Schanen BC, Sassano E, Hindocha P, Phares TW, Moise L, Christen JM, Tucker KD, Kotraiah V, Drake DR 3rd, Martin WD, De Groot AS, Gutierrez GM. Bridging Computational Vaccinology and Vaccine Development Through Systematic Identification, Characterization, and Downselection of Conserved and Variable Circumsporozoite Protein CD4 T Cell Epitopes From Diverse Plasmodium falciparum Strains. Front Immunol. 2021 Jun 8;12:689920. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2021.689920. PMID: 34168657; PMCID: PMC8217813.

McCarthy M, Barry K, Estrada C, Veliz B, Rosales D, Leonard M, De Groot AS. Recruitment, Training, and Roles of the Bilingual, Bicultural Navegantes: Developing a Specialized Workforce of Community Health Workers to Serve a Low- Income, Spanish-Speaking Population in Rhode Island. Front Public Health. 2021 Jun 4;9:666566. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.666566. PMID: 34150707; PMCID: PMC8213204.

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