Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Larry Grill

Reader 2

Emily Wiley

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Rights Information

2019 Elizabeth M Chun


Rift Valley Fever (RVF) is an emerging infectious disease found in both livestock and humans. RVF is associated with high abortion and mortality rates in livestock and can be fatal in humans. As such, RVF is economically and socially significant to affected smallholder and subsistence farmers, those infected, and national livestock industries. However, Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) vaccines are not commercially available outside of endemic areas or for humans, and current vaccines are limited in their safety and efficacy. A plant-based, viral nanoparticle vaccine offers a more affordable alternative to conventional vaccines that is safe, rapidly producible, and easily scalable, better meeting the needs of impacted communities. This project focuses on assessing the potential of using a Nicotiana benthamiana plant expression system to generate recombinant tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) nanoparticles displaying RVFV glycoprotein epitopes. Eight TMV-RVFV glycoprotein constructs were designed. Five TMV-RVFV constructs were successfully cloned, and four recombinant TMV constructs were successfully expressed in planta. The antigenicity of these constructs was examined for their possible use in RVFV vaccine development.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.