Scientific Lead, Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team
National Institutes Of Health, National Institute of Allegry and Infectious Diseases, Vaccine Research Center
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, including 45 participants, started only 66 days from the release date of the virus sequence. Following promising results in animal models and humans, mRNA-1273 is currently in Phase 2 clinical trial with a trajectory to begin Phase 3 efficacy trial by the end of July. The goal is to vaccinate healthcare workers for emergency use by September, the predicted onset of COVID-19’s next seasonal wave. 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 B.S. 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 Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2014.