MATTHIAS OBERLI, PH.D.
Case type: National Interest Waiver
Position at the time of filing: Postdoctoral Fellow
Country of birth: Switzerland
Degree: PhD, Organic Chemistry, ETH Zurich and Max Planck Institute, Berlin
Citations at the time of filing: 256
Status at the time of filing case with USCIS: J-1
Dr. Oberli pioneered work on diseases that are acquired in hospital settings also known as nosocomial diseases. Roughly 1.7 million hospital-associated infections, from all types of microorganisms, including bacteria, combined, cause or contribute to 99,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Oberli’s work in studying how organisms and humans react to vaccine candidates is helping to solve the nationally important problem of hospital-acquired diseases. His work also has important applications in other disease vaccine research as many pathogens, bacteria and viruses alike, carry distinct polysaccharides on the cell surface. These structures make excellent future targets for development of diagnostic tests and vaccine candidates. Dr. Oberli synthesized carbohydrate vaccine candidates against bacillus anthracis and clostridium difficile. In addition to his history of accomplishment in disease and cancer treatment at ETH Zürich and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Dr. Oberli is performing pioneering research in his current position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). While new carbohydrate conjugate vaccines can be used to prevent disease, their delivery to the body is also an important medical problem. At MIT, Dr. Oberli is looking into vaccine delivery to the skin using ultrasound. Vaccines delivered by syringes into the muscle are effective in raising antibodies. However, they are unable to activate the cellular arm of the immune system, also called “killer cells”. These killer cells can eliminate cancer cells and cells infected with viruses. Therefore, innovative vaccine delivery methods will help by activating this arm of the immune system and hence be key to treating cancer and infections such as HIV, HPV, or herpes.
Dr. Oberli is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Throughout his career, Dr. Oberli has designed and executed laboratory experiments that have led to several first-authored publications and over 150 citations. In 2011, in recognition of his expertise in biomedical chemistry, Dr. Oberli was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship from the Novartis Foundation to work at MIT where he is now doing novel work in delivering vaccines to the skin through ultrasound technology. He is pushing technology and vaccine research to the next level and is well respected in the national and international research community. Researchers from all over Europe, Asia and The United States have cited and learned from his remarkable work.