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2016 Junior Investigator of the Year

The Institute for Clinical and Translational Science is pleased to announce the 2016 Junior Investigator of the Year. This award is given to an exceptional UC Irvine investigator whose work is broadly focused on the biomedical sciences. The awardee is an individual who has contributed substantial new insights and knowledge in the pursuit of improving human health and has linked basic science with clinical application.


Dr. Aaron Esser-Kahn
Assistant Professor
School of Physical Sciences

Dr. Esser-Kahn obtained his PhD in Chemistry in 2009 as part of the collaborative Chemical-Biology Program and the Francis lab. He joined UC Irvine in 2011 after completing his Postdoctoral Fellowship with Dr. Jeffrey Moore at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. In the past year, Dr. Esser-Kahn has developed a novel process for orthogonally and remotely activating the innate immune system. This method allows direct control of adoptively transferred cells in mice in which these compounds act as novel and programmable adjuvants. The novelty is the ability to select and tune the immune responses. He is developing this platform for clinical application for vaccines against Q-Fever.

Dr. Esser-Kahn is highly collegial, running campus programs for summer research materials science, as well as organizing a new joint venture with the School of Engineering and ChEMs for materials characterization (TEMPR). In addition, he has active collaboration with colleagues in the medical school with joint projects funded with Drs. Philip Felgner and Albert Zlotnik. He is beginning another project with them (UO1) looking at the basic study of Dr. Esser-Kahn’s molecules to understand how they influence the immune system.

Dr. Esser-Kahn contributes to the field of adjuvant discovery, development and vaccine trials. At the regional level, he has worked closely with researchers at UCI and gives talks to local groups on the impact of vaccination. At the national level, Dr. Esser-Kahn has organized meetings related to the intersection of chemistry and immunology at ACS national meetings and presented his work at Keystone Conferences and the Gordon Research Symposium on vaccine development. He also has active collaboration with the Vaccine Research Center at the NIH. Finally, at the international level, Dr. Esser-Kahn has presented his groups’ work at the Oxford Chemical Immunology Symposium, which brings together the best international chemists and vaccine development researchers.


Join us in celebrating Dr. Aaron Esser-Kahn.
Register now for the Awards Dinner to be held on June 3rd space is limited

The 8th Annual ICTS Awards Dinner
"People Who Make a Difference in Human Health"

UCI Student Center Pacific Ballroom
Cocktail Reception.....................5:00 - 6:00 PM
Awards Dinner...........................6:00 - 8:00 PM

Event Website | Registration

To register click here