Kirsten E. Lyke, MD, Professor of Medicine and Physician-Scientist at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), was elected this week as a new member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). She was recognized for her pivotal research in emerging infections and human challenge models that have informed and shaped global vaccine and public health policy.
NAM elected 90 regular members, including Dr. Lyke, and 10 international members during its annual NAM meeting, in Washington, D.C. This places her among the more than 2,000 U.S. members of this important organization. CVD now has four members of NAM including Dr. Lyke; Kathleen M. Neuzil, MD, MPH, Director of CVD; Myron (Mike) Levine, MD; and Samba Sow, MD.
Membership in the Academy is considered one of the highest honors for individuals who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health.
“Dr. Lyke’s election to the National Academy of Medicine is a well-deserved recognition for her remarkable scientific career. Dr. Lyke’s ground-breaking work utilizing controlled human infection models has transformed the malaria field and advanced interventions for this devastating disease,” said Dr. Neuzil who is the Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics.
During the Ebola outbreak and the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Lyke performed first-in-human studies on vaccines aimed at stopping the spread of these emerging threats. She co-led a study that was pivotal in recommending adults and teens receive booster COVID-19 shots of their choosing starting in the fall of 2021. The clinical trial results, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that it is safe and effective to receive boosters that are the same or a different one from the person’s primary immunization, allowing consumers to “mix and match” their vaccines.
“Dr. Lyke is an internationally recognized translational investigator who is most deserving of this honor. Her controlled human challenge studies of malaria and dengue infections and Ebola and SARS CoV02 infections led directly to the development of vaccines aimed at stopping the spread of these devastating diseases,” said UMSOM Dean Mark Gladwin, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Significantly, her clinical trials for COVID-19 booster shots provided pivotal evidence that heterologous primary-boost strategies may offer immunological advantages to optimize the breadth and longevity of protection achieved with currently available vaccines,” Dean Gladwin said.
After joining the UMSOM faculty in 2002, Dr. Lyke, a board-certified infectious disease specialist, became Director of the Vector-borne Diseases Vaccine and Challenge Unit at CVD. Much of her early academic career was spent pursuing fieldwork in Mali, West Africa, studying malaria and helminthes immunology, epidemiology and co-infection. Her work includes the first-in-humans challenge trial of a whole-organism Pf sporozoite malaria vaccine and novel studies testing malaria monoclonal antibodies. She was the site Principal Investigator for the first Phase I domestic Ebola vaccine trials and led Ebola and Dengue vaccine trials and participated in the first human Zika vaccine trial. She is a global leader for controlled human malaria infection and the dengue human infection model, enabling rapid down-selection of vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, and therapeutics.
“This is truly an honor to be elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine. My career has been shaped by the mentorship of giants in the field of infectious diseases, and I am humbled to walk in their footprints,” said Dr. Lyke.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Lyke has received numerous awards. Among them, she was awarded Best Scientific Publication of 2022-2023 by the Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Consortium (IDCRC). She was named a “Health Care Hero” by The Maryland Daily Record in 2022 for her pioneering research on COVID-19 vaccines and her work with patients during the pandemic. She has been awarded the Best Basic Science Publication of the Year (2017) and Clinical Science Publication of the Year (2022) by UMSOM.
Other UMSOM faculty members who have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine include: William Carpenter, Howard Goldman, E. Albert Reece, Paul Stolley, Donald Wilson, Theodore Woodward, Claire Fraser, and Robert Gallo.
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 46 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 two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research. With an operating budget of more than $1.2 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 nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has nearly $600 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 population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 students, trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of over $6 billion and an economic impact of nearly $20 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity (according to the Association of American Medical Colleges profile) is an innovator in translational medicine, with 606 active patents and 52 start-up companies. In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the Best Medical Schools, published in 2023, the UM School of Medicine is ranked #10 among the 92 public medical schools in the U.S., and in the top 16 percent (#32) of all 192 public and private U.S. medical schools. The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu
About the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine
For over 40 years, researchers in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD) have worked domestically and internationally to develop, test, and deploy vaccines to aid the world’s underserved populations. CVD is an academic enterprise engaged in the full range of infectious disease intervention from basic laboratory research through vaccine development, pre-clinical and clinical evaluation, large-scale pre-licensure field studies, and post-licensure assessments. CVD has created and tested vaccines against cholera, typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, non-typhoidal Salmonella disease, shigellosis (bacillary dysentery), Escherichia coli diarrhea, nosocomial pathogens, tularemia, influenza, coronaviruses, malaria, dengue, ebola and other infectious diseases. CVD’s research covers the broader goal of improving global health by conducting innovative, leading research in Baltimore and around the world. Our researchers are developing new and improved ways to diagnose, prevent, treat, control, and eliminate diseases of global impact, including COVID-19. In addition, CVD’s work focuses on the ever-growing challenge of antimicrobial resistance.