Continuing our regular webinar series, the ERN team is presenting a webinar interview with NIH’s lead scientist on the COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett sits down with Dr. Iris R. Wagstaff, AAAS STEM Program Director and ERN Conference Lead, to share her journey in STEM and her work on the COVID-19 vaccine development. Dr. Corbett will also share tips on persevering in STEM and staying on task with educational and career goals at this critical time in our country. We hope this interview will be inspiring and serve as an example of excellence in STEM to our ERN community.
The webinar took place MONDAY, May 11, 2020 from 2:00PM to 3:00PM EDT.
The webinar is NOT exclusive to ERN Conference participants and we welcome all students who are interested in the subject matter to join the webinar.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER:
Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett is the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center (VRC). Appointed to the VRC in 2014, her work focuses on developing novel coronavirus vaccines, including mRNA-1273, a candidate vaccine against the virus that causes COVID-19.
In response to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic, the vaccine concept incorporated in mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett’s team from viral sequence and rapidly deployed to industry partner, Moderna, Inc., for FDA-approved phase 1 clinical trial. The clinical trial started only 66 days from the release date of the virus sequence. Data collection is underway, with expectation of primary readouts for safety and immune responses in the coming week. Moderna has submitted for FDA approval of phase 2 studies and begun large-scale production of mRNA-1273 for phase 2 studies to begin in late May. The goal is to vaccinate healthcare workers for emergency use by September, the predicted onset of COVID-19’s next seasonal wave and to introduce mRNA-1273 into the general population in Spring 2021.
Alongside mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett’s team boasts a portfolio which also includes universal coronavirus vaccine candidates and novel therapeutic antibodies. Additionally, Dr. Corbett spent several years working on a universal influenza vaccine, which is slated for phase 1 clinical trial in the upcoming year. She has fifteen years of expertise with dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses. Her scientific career began at University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC), where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar and a NIH undergraduate scholar. She received a BS in Biological Sciences, with a secondary major in Sociology, in 2008. She then enrolled at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), from where she obtained her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology in 2014.