About Radcliffe / Radcliffe Professors

Kizzmekia S. Corbett

  • Physical Sciences
  • Shutzer Assistant Professor, Harvard Radcliffe Institute; and assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Portrait of Kizzmekia S. Corbett
Photo courtesy of Kizzmekia S. Corbett

Kizzmekia S. Corbett is a Shutzer Assistant Professor at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, an assistant professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and an associate member of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. 

An expert on dengue virus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza viruses, and coronaviruses, Corbett previously served as a research fellow and scientific lead at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Vaccine Research Center, where she advanced novel vaccine development for pandemic preparedness, including mRNA-1273, a leading vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. The vaccine concept designed by Corbett’s NIH team was rapidly deployed to Moderna, Inc., for clinical trials; mRNA-1273 was ultimately shown to be 94.1 percent effective in a Phase 3 trial and is now authorized for use in the United States and many other countries. Alongside mRNA-1273, Corbett holds a significant patent portfolio, and she is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the Benjamin Franklin NextGen Award and the Norman P. Salzman Memorial Award in Basic and Clinical Virology. 

Corbett earned a BS from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she was a Meyerhoff Scholar and a National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholar, and a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received multiple honors, including a director’s scholarship. Corbett is also a passionate mentor and advocate for STEM education and vaccine awareness among underserved communities.

She Helped Unlock the Science of the Covid Vaccine (New York Times, 2/9/23)

Immunologist Kizzmekia Corbett’s Work Represents the Best of What Science Offered Us in 2021 (Boston Globe, 12/15/21)

NIH Innovators Who Helped Develop Coronavirus Vaccines Get Top Prizes at the Sammies Awards for Federal Workers (10/28/21)

Kizzmekia Corbett Is Just Getting Started (Harvard Public Health, Fall 2021)

COVID-19 Vaccine Expert Not as Concerned about Full Stadiums as People Not Getting Shots (USA Today, 9/15/21)

Leading Coronavirus Scientist, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, to Join Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health to Continue Vaccine Development Research (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 5/11/21)

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