Kizzmekia S. Corbett

NEW EXCLUSIVE
  • Lead Scientist in Development of the Covid-19 mRNA Vaccines
  • Assistant Professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Former Senior Research Fellow and Scientific Lead of the Coronavirus Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
  • Champion of Diversity in STEM


Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett was the scientific lead of the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team at the U.S. National Institutes of Health where she studied coronavirus biology and vaccine development. Those 6 years of research led to the groundbreaking discovery that a stabilized version of a spike protein, which is found on the surface of all coronaviruses, would be a key target for vaccines, treatments, and diagnostics. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she and her colleagues were central to the development of the Moderna mRNA vaccine and the Eli Lilly therapeutic monoclonal antibody, both of which were first to enter clinical trials in the world. As a result, her work is having a substantial impact on ending the worst respiratory-disease pandemic in more than 100 years. Dr. Corbett is now an assistant professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her work now extends beyond the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines to the outlook of this pandemic and future viral pandemics.

Perhaps just as important as her scientific accomplishments, Dr. Corbett has burst onto the public stage as the face of a diverse and rising generation of talented scientists who will transform the world. She is a stellar science communicator, explaining the vaccine and the virus in highly accessible ways to media outlets, two U.S. presidents, and audiences around the globe. 

 

 

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Morning Show Interview - Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett weighs in on vaccination fears l GMA [4:28] - Get Sharable Link
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The Race to a COVID-19 Vaccine: Then and Now

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about the 2020 race to develop the COVID-19 vaccine and the current science of the vaccine.  ...

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about the 2020 race to develop the COVID-19 vaccine and the current science of the vaccine. 

Pandemic Preparedness

Global health is constantly threatened by emerging pathogens. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about work left to be done in science and public health. ...

Global health is constantly threatened by emerging pathogens. Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about work left to be done in science and public health.

Hillsborough to Harvard

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about her extraordinary journey to becoming a scientist, from her first internship at 16 years old to her current professorship at Harvard and all of the failures and successes along the way. ...

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett speaks about her extraordinary journey to becoming a scientist, from her first internship at 16 years old to her current professorship at Harvard and all of the failures and successes along the way.

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Biography

Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She also holds an appointment at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute as the Shutzer Assistant Professor. She leads a new lab to study and understand the interface between hosts’ immune systems and viruses that cause respiratory disease, with the goal of informing development of novel and potentially universal vaccines.

Dr. Corbett uses her viral immunology expertise to propel novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness, including mRNA-1273, a leading vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine concept incorporated in mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett's NIH team from viral sequence and rapidly deployed to industry partner, Moderna, Inc., for Phase 1 clinical trial, which unprecedently began only 66 days from viral sequence release. mRNA-1273 was shown to be 94.1% effective in Phase 3 trial and is authorized for use in multiple countries. Alongside mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett boasts a patent portfolio which also includes universal coronavirus and influenza vaccine concepts and novel therapeutic antibodies.

In all, she has over 15 years of experience studying dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and coronaviruses, garnering several prestigious awards, such as the Benjamin Franklin Next Gen Award and the Salzman Memorial Award in Virology. Combining her research goals with her knack for mentorship, Dr. Corbett invests much of her time in underserved communities as an advocator of STEM education and vaccine awareness.

She received a B.S. in Biological Sciences, with a secondary major in Sociology, in 2008 from the University of Maryland–Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar and an NIH undergraduate scholar. She then enrolled at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she obtained her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology in 2014.