Dr. Levine will be Honored by Research!America with the 2020 Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders Science Award
Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, the Simon and Bessie Grollman Distinguished Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), Associate Dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases, and Founder and Former Director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) is a co-recipient of the 2020 Research! America Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award for his pioneering vaccine and infectious disease research.
This lifetime achievement award recognizes the significant impact Dr. Levine’s vaccine research, which spans nearly 50 years, has had in protecting the world’s most vulnerable populations from critical diseases like typhoid, cholera and Shigella dysentery.
The 24th Research!America Advocacy Awards, to be held at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium in Washington, D.C. on March 11, 2020, brings together leaders from government, industry, academia, patient groups, scientific societies, independent research institutes, and health advocacy organizations to honor exceptional advocates for research.
“No one deserves this honor more than Dr. Levine,” said UMSOM Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor. “We are so delighted that Research! America will grant this most prestigious award to one of UMSOM’s most distinguished leaders. For nearly half a century, Dr. Levine has pioneered important vaccine and infectious disease research on the world’s most challenging diseases. The benefits of his research have impacted millions of lives around the globe,” said Dean Reece.
Since 1970, Dr. Levine has worked on vaccine research and is widely recognized as a pioneer of the discipline of “vaccinology.” After founding CVD in 1974, he served as Director until 2015. He oriented CVD to fill the niche of developing vaccines to prevent certain infections that have enormous disease burdens in impoverished populations and developing countries, but cause little burden in the U.S. and other industrialized countries. This includes research to develop vaccines against intestinal infections such as cholera, Shigella dysentery, typhoid fever, and non-typhoidal Salmonella infections.
“I am deeply honored to be a recipient of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Builders of Science Award. However, my research accomplishments have been team efforts with dedicated research collaborators both at CVD in the USA and with colleagues abroad, particularly, over many years in Chile and Mali. In accepting this award, I wish to acknowledge my colleagues who not only contributed to the research accomplishments but who have provided treasured friendships over the decades,” said Dr. Levine.
Widely Recognized Global Health Research
Dr. Levine has spent considerable time working in developing countries on the epidemiology and prevention of enteric infections. His 50-year research career has covered basic vaccine development, clinical trials (safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy), and impact following vaccine introduction. He has trained vaccine researchers globally.
“Mike is one of the leading vaccinology researchers in the world, and his impact on public health is immeasurable. He richly deserves this award,” said Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health.
At UMSOM, Dr. Levine founded CVD, received 18 patents, and led research to the development of the only Food and Drug Administration Approved Cholera Vaccine for U.S. adults. He is currently the Principal Investigator for research in Samoa aimed at ultimately eradicating Typhoid, Principal Investigator for NIH- funded research into antimicrobial resistance and Principal Investigator for Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded research into diarrheal diseases.
Dr. Levine’s research is widely recognized. In 1995, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2017 he was awarded the Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), honoring his extensive accomplishments in public health and identifying solutions to major sources of disease in the developing world, including cholera, typhoid, and Shigella dysentery.
He is clinically trained in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases and is also trained in tropical public health and epidemiology. He received post-graduate laboratory training in microbiology and immunology of bacterial infections. His global health research includes serving as a World Health Organization (WHO) consultant to the Smallpox Eradication Program in Bangladesh in 1975, where he was District Coordinator for Rajshahi District. From 2000 to 2002, he was a member of the first Working Group of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (now called the GAVI Alliance), and was co-chair of its Task Force on Research and Development.
Dr. Levine has published more than 682 peer reviewed papers, 121 book chapters and is Senior Editor of New Generation Vaccines, a textbook of research vaccinology. In addition, he has 18 patents. He has also served in important leadership roles in the field of infectious disease, such as President of the American Epidemiological Society and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). He has received many awards and honors for his contributions to the field of vaccinology including: Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award of the Albert B. Sabin Vaccine Institute (1998) for contributions to the field of vaccinology; Medalla Rectoral of the University of Chile (2006); Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award of the American Society for Microbiology for lifelong contributions to vaccinology (2012); Donald Mackay Medal of the ASTMH in recognition of outstanding research on tropical health (2013); Dean’s Distinguished Gold Medal, UMSOM (2014); American College of Physicians Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine (2015); National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Maxwell Finland Award for Scientific Achievement (2017). In 2005 the President of Mali awarded him the National Order of Mali, Grand Officer rank.
He received his BS Degree from City College of New York, his MD Degree from the Medical College of Virginia and his Diploma in Tropical Public Health (with distinction) from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Levine then trained in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Thereafter, he served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Research!America is the nation’s largest nonprofit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Founded in 1989, Research!America is supported by member organizations that represent the voices of 125 million Americans. The Research!America alliance advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Together, with its member organizations that represent a vast array of medical, health and scientific fields, Research! America’s goals are to Achieve funding for medical and health research from the public and private sectors at a level warranted by scientific opportunity and supported by public opinion; Better inform the public of the benefits of medical and health research and the institutions that perform research; Motivate the public to actively support medical and health research and the complementary sciences that make advances possible; and promote and empower a more active public and political life by individual members of the research community on behalf of medical and health research, public health, and science overall. Dean Reece serves as a member of Research!America’s Executive Committee. Visit www.researchamerica.org.
About the University of Maryland School of Medicine
Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu