David Vance

David Vance

Research Assistant Professor
School of Public Health
Biomedical Sciences


Center for Medical Science Room 2020

PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 2010

Postdoctoral training, Wadsworth Center

Portrait of David Vance.


Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health


Dr. David Vance has been with the Wadsworth Center since 2011, first as a postdoctoral scientist and later as a Research Scientist, in the laboratory of Dr. Nicholas Mantis. The Mantis Lab combines methods in immunology, molecular biology, microbiology, cell biology, and structural biology to study how antibodies recognize and neutralize their antigenic targets. Dr. Vance is primarily focused on antibody discovery against two main targets: the plant toxin ricin, and the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease. In collaboration with the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, Dr. Vance uses single domain antibody (“nanobody”) libraries to identify nanobodies that bind to ricin or outer surface proteins of Borrelia with nanomolar or even picomolar affinity. By identifying dozens of nanobodies against a given target, mapping their binding locations (“epitopes”), and characterizing their neutralizing function, we can better understand the regions of vulnerability on an antigen’s surface, which then supports rational vaccine design. X-ray crystallography of nanobodies in complex with their antigens, done in collaboration with the New York Structural Biology Center, allows for a detailed structural understanding of the interaction between antibody and antigen. This knowledge aids nanobody engineering efforts, such as targeted point mutations and nanobody multimerization, which can further increase affinity, avidity, breadth, and neutralization potency.


Research interests

  • Immunology
  • Antibodies
  • Vaccines


Research concentrations

  • Drug Discovery & Therapeutics
  • Infection & Immunity
  • Structural Biology


Sample Studies

Rudolph MJ, Poon AY, Kavaliauskiene S, Myrann AG, Reynolds-Peterson C, Davis SA, Sandvig K, Vance DJ, Mantis NJ. 2021. Structural analysis of toxin-neutralizing, single-domain antibodies that bridge ricin’s A-B subunit interface. Journal of Molecular Biology. doi:10.1016/j.jmb.2021.167086 PMID: 34089718

Vance DJ, Poon AY, Mantis NJ. 2020. Sites of Vulnerability on Ricin B Chain Revealed through Epitope Mapping of Toxin-Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies. PLoS ONE doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0236538 PMID: 33166282

Rudolph MJ, Czajka TF, Davis SA, Thi Nguyen CM, Li XP, Tumer NE, Vance DJ, Mantis NJ. 2020. Intracellular Neutralization of Ricin Toxin by Single-domain Antibodies Targeting the Active Site. Journal of Molecular Biology 432(4): 1109-1125; PMID: 31931008 

Vance DJ, Tremblay JM, Rong Y, Angalakurthi SK, Volkin DB, Middaugh CR, Weis DD, Shoemaker CB, Mantis NJ. 2017. High Resolution Epitope Positioning of a Large Collection of Neutralizing and Non-Neutralizing Single Domain Antibodies on Ricin Toxin’s Enzymatic and Binding Subunits. Clinical and Vaccine Immunology 24(12); PMID: 29021300


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