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Dr. Corbett was awarded the 2021 Green Sands Prize for her contributions to Science and the Development of Moderna Vaccine.

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett


In 2020 when COVID-19 was spreading globally, Dr. Corbett was a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronavirus Vaccines & Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The vaccine concept incorporated in the mRNA-1273 was designed by Dr. Corbett’s NIH team. In an unprecedented 66 days, her team released the viral sequence which was rapidly deployed to Moderna, Inc., for the Phase 1 clinical trial. The mRNA-1273 was later shown to be 94.1% effective in Phase 3 trial and was authorized for use in multiple countries. Alongside the mRNA-1273, Dr. Corbett boasts a patent portfolio which includes universal coronavirus and influenza vaccine concepts and novel therapeutic antibodies.

Today, Dr. Corbett is an Assistant Professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Shutzer Assistant Professor at Harvard’s Radcliff Institute of Advanced Study, and Associate Member of the Phillip T. and Susan M. Ragon Institute. At Harvard Dr. Corbett is studying viral immunology to inform vaccine development. “In going back to the fundamentals, I’ll be broadening my horizons beyond just coronaviruses to explore other viral families. I want to do what we did with coronaviruses—create a solid body of knowledge for other viruses so that the world has information at hand to quickly and safely develop vaccines. That concept is called ‘pandemic preparedness,’ and that’s really what my lab here will be focusing on.” stated Dr. Corbett.

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