Haiyan Sun is from Fuyang, a small city in eastern China, where she earned a bachelor's and master's degree. She was working with a company to develop vaccines against animal diseases before an opportunity to study with Nebraska researchers Fernando Osorio and Hiep Vu arose in 2013.
"I have a passion for designing efficient vaccines to prevent and control the infection and control diseases," the animal science postdoctoral research associate said. "Dr. Osorio is well known for research on swine diseases, especially PRRSV, so when I got the chance to study in his lab, I jumped at the opportunity."
In the lab, Sun helped Osorio and Vu characterize a synthetic PRRSV strain which has the potential to be a strong vaccine candidate with high levels of cross-protection. She continues to study host innate and adaptive immune response to PRRSV.
Sun's work has caught the eye of the professional research community. In December 2017, the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists awarded the outstanding oral presentation she gave about PRRSV research at their annual conference. While the research she spoke about is close to resulting in an effective PRRSV vaccine, Sun has no plans of concluding her scientific efforts.
"The strategies used for designing a broad coverage PRRSV vaccine can provide important information for the development of novel vaccines against other swine diseases. This will help sustainable pork production," Sun said.
In the future, Sun hopes to follow in the path of her mentors, Osorio and Vu, by establishing her own laboratory to foster more talent in virology research.