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Excellence in Global Health and Vaccinology

‌‌Over the past half century, great progress has been made against many deadly global health problems. Smallpox has been eradicated; rates of polio have dropped precipitously in recent decades; and rates of malaria have dropped by nearly half since 2000.

But many global health challenges remain. Infectious diseases remain a major threat. Every year, around 2.5 million people are infected with HIV, including more than 300,000 children; despite recent gains, malaria still kills more than half a million people annually, most of them under the age of 10. Dangerous infectious diseases, including Zika and Ebola, have recently emerged or have spread to new parts of the world.

At the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM), the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health brings together an impressive team of researchers with decades of experience in a variety of areas, including vaccines, malaria, and emerging diseases.

Kathleen NeuzilThe CVD is led by Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH. The institute focuses on vaccine development and malaria research.  The Malaria Research Program is led by Miriam Laufer, MD.

For more than 40 years, the CVD has conducted research on vaccines for a variety of diseases, including cholera, typhoid fever, malaria, and other infectious illnesses. The center focuses on maternal and child mortality, especially on preventing diarrhea and pneumonia, which are leading causes of death in children under five around the world. The CVD has worked in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and has research and treatment facilities in Mali and Chile. One of the center’s key principles is to inform policy and field interventions, and ultimately to save lives.

With the ultimate aim of global malaria eradication, the focus is on the prevention and treatment of malaria, which infects 200 million people a year. It develops and deploys innovative tools for malaria treatment, prevention and surveillance. Working in its Baltimore laboratories and at field sites in Mali, Burkina Faso, Malawi and Myanmar, the Malaria Research Program designs and leads clinical trials of drugs and vaccines, and applies molecular and genomics approaches to track drug resistance and malaria transmission.

Our researchers have been studying malaria for decades, building a multidisciplinary malaria research program that works around the world. Dr. Neuzil, an expert in the study of vaccines, was previously a professor at the University of Washington, and directed vaccine access and delivery at PATH, an international nonprofit global health organization based in Seattle.

Myron LevineCVD faculty includes a range of well-known scientists, among them Myron Levine, MD, DTPH, the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor at UM SOM. Dr. Levine, who founded CVD four decades ago and developed the first and only cholera vaccine licensed in the USA. He continues to work in vaccine development, and has played an important role in research into a promising Ebola vaccine.

The CVD also focuses on developing the skills and expertise of those abroad who are on the front lines in the war against infectious and other global diseases. This spread of technical and scientific knowledge will allow less developed countries to create sustainable improvements in public health, which last beyond the end of studies by researchers at western institutions.

Laufer, MiriamKotloffThe CVD has other projects as well. Miriam K. Laufer, MD, is examining potential links between HIV and malaria and leading clinical trials to prevent and treat both diseases. At CVD, Karen Kotloff, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, is involved in several projects to prevent diarrheal disease in developing countries.