The University of Mississippi (UM) Botanical Dietary Supplements Research Center (BDSRC) is focused
on filling in knowledge gaps related to the potential for the Spirulina-based product, ImmulinaTM, to promote
resilience against and/or recovery from influenza and, by extension, other respiratory viral infections.
ImmulinaTM is a patented bioassay-standardized extract that concentrates the active immunostimulatory
compounds in Spirulina, i.e., Braun-type lipoproteins. Researchers affiliated with the UM BDSRC have
generated evidence that supports reproducible and mechanistically plausible effects of ImmulinaTM for
enhancing host responses that may promote resilience against respiratory viral infections such as influenza.
Last year in the U.S. alone, influenza resulted in 959,000 patient hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths.
Under the direction of Ikhlas Khan, PhD and Nirmal Pugh, PhD, the UM BDSRC includes a well-
established collaborative team of multi-disciplinary investigators with expertise in natural products, animal
models of human diseases, pharmaceutics, immunology, and human subject research. The UM BDSRC will be
composed of an Administration Core, a Botanical Core, and two research projects: (1) Unraveling Immune
Enhancement by ImmulinaTM, and (2) Evaluation of ImmulinaTM Oral Supplement for Host Resistance to
Influenza Virus Infection.
The overall specific aims are to: (1) maximize coordination of effort, communication among researchers,
training opportunities for career development, and dissemination of knowledge through a well-managed and
effective Administrative Core; (2) ensure product integrity of the ImmulinaTM extract through a combination of
bioassay- and chemical-based approaches for standardization within the Botanical Core; (3) determine the
molecular mechanism of immune enhancement of ImmulinaTM and optimal formulation and dosing in Project
1’s mouse study that can be utilized by the UM BDSRC’s other studies; and (4) using both a mouse and
subsequently a biomarker-based human model, establish the impact of ImmulinaTM supplementation on
increasing host resilience against the pathogenic effects of influenza virus infection with Project 2.
The Administrative Core, guided by an External Advisory Committee and an Internal Steering Committee,
will oversee all aspects of the UM BDSRC, including progress towards meeting its milestones, efficient
allocation of resources, collaborations with researchers outside the UM BDSRC, oversight of its graduate
students and post-doctoral fellows, and maintenance of its website. Members of the Botanical Core will work
closely with researchers from the UM BDSRC to provide sufficient quantities of standardized ImmulinaTM
extract and to collaborate with other units of CARBON on future efficacy studies of ImmulinaTM. The results
from Projects 1 and 2 will help establish the optimal regimen for future clinical efficacy trials.