Donald L. Jarvis
Don Jarvis earned B.S. (1978) and M.S. (1980) degrees in Microbiology at Idaho State University and a Ph.D. (1986) in Virology at Baylor College of Medicine. After initial postdoctoral training at Baylor, Don moved to Texas A&M University (1987) as a postdoc studying glycoprotein biosynthesis and processing in the baculovirus system in Max Summers’ group. In 1989, Don took an independent faculty position at Texas A&M, where he continued studying protein processing in the baculovirus-insect cell system until the end of 1997. He then moved his group to the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Wyoming, where his research focused on insect cell glycobiology and glycoprotein biosynthesis in the baculovirus-insect cell system. Don’s research efforts have yielded over 100 publications and 12 patents. His group created the first vectors and methods for insect cell transformation and used them to produce the first transformed insect cells as constitutive recombinant protein production systems. They also were the first to use these tools to glycoengineer insect cell protein glycosylation pathways and isolate transgenic insect cell lines capable of producing humanized recombinant glycoproteins. In fact, Don’s group provided the first example of glycoengineering a lower eukaryotic system in publications dating to 1996. Finally, they also created a new class of baculovirus vectors that induce foreign gene expression early in infection and showed they can produce more efficiently processed recombinant glycoproteins. Ultimately, Jarvis lab research on the baculovirus-insect cell system identified ways to improve the utility of this system for biomedical applications. This led Don to create a biotechnology startup, GlycoBac, LLC, to fine-tune and commercialize these new systems. Jarvis lab research has been supported by 27 years of continuous external funding. This includes NIH SBIR/STTR funding in the form of three Phase I and one Phase II Awards, with another Phase II proposal on a paylist, to support GlycoBac’s commercialization efforts. This support has enabled the Jarvis lab to move to a new era of investigation in which they will undertake a general endeavor to use their glycoengineered systems to examine the functional impact of N-glycan structure on the functions of antiviral monoclonal antibodies and vaccines to generate new information that will inform development of improved biologics for human medicine.