Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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Kizzmekia S Corbett-Helaire, Ph.D.

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Biography
University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBSc2008Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences | Secondary Major in Sociology
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC)PhD2014Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology and Immunology
05 - 2021
Dean’s Medal
05 - 2021
Clinton Global Citizen Award
06 - 2021
Mrs. Rosa Parks Hidden Figure Award
04 - 2021
Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award
04 - 2021
Scroll of Merit Award
02 - 2021
Hall of FAME Honoree
02 - 2021
Key of Life Award
01 - 2021
Proclamation: “Dr. Kizzmekia ‘Kizzy’ Day” – January 28
12 - 2020
The Golden Goose Award
11 - 2020
NIAID Merit Award
10 - 2020
Theodore Roosevelt Government Leadership Award
09 - 2020
Distinguished 400 Award
08 - 2020
Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research Award

Overview
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.

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Funded by the NIH National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences through its Clinical and Translational Science Awards Program, grant number UL1TR002541.