Norbert Pardi

Norbert Pardi, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Microbiology (Penn Medicine)

Pardi Lab

mRNA-based platform development

In vitro transcribed (IVT) mRNA emerged as a groundbreaking new therapeutic modality that proved its viability as a vaccine platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides vaccination, IVT mRNA can potentially be used for a wide range of clinical applications such as protein replacement, antibody therapy, and genome editing. Our group is interested in further improving the mRNA platform by examining the contribution of mRNA’s structural elements, chemistry, and composition as well as exploring ways to alter its stability, translatability and inflammatory capacity. We believe that a better understanding of these important features of mRNA biology and production will allow for a more precise and optimized mRNA design for various applications.


mRNA vaccine development for infectious diseases

The lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-encapsulated nucleoside-modified mRNA vaccine platform – being utilized in the mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2 vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 – is saving lives every day in the COVID-19 pandemic. The flexibility of mRNA vaccine design and its highly scalable manufacturing enable the rapid development of modified vaccines adjusted to new variants of SARS-CoV-2 and the production of hundreds of millions of vaccine doses in just a few months. These beneficial features of the nucleoside-modified mRNA-LNP technology are critical for successfully battling quickly mutating pathogens and dealing with pandemic outbreaks where rapid development of production of novel vaccines are key for success.

Our lab quickly reacted to the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak by designing, producing and testing novel SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines similar to mRNA-1273 and BNT162b2. As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is the third coronavirus outbreak in less than 20 years, we have no doubts that coronaviruses will be responsible for more epidemics and pandemics in the near future. We are committed to contributing to global pandemic preparedness, a pro-active approach that aims at designing, producing, and testing new vaccines against pathogens with high pandemic potential. As part of a team of investigators at various institutions, we are developing mRNA-based pancoronavirus vaccines that can elicit broad protection against multiple coronaviruses and help to significantly decrease the negative impact (morbidity, mortality, economic loss) of future coronavirus outbreaks.