Education and Training
Cornell University, College of Arts and Sciences, B.A., Biology, 1993
Cornell University Medical College, M.D., 1997
Residency, Case Western Reserve University, Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital, Pediatrics, 1997-2000
Fellowship, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, 2000-2001
Fellowship, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Vaccinology, 2001 - 2004
Dr. Tapia joined the faculty of the Center for Vaccine Development (CVD) in 2004. Her research focuses primarily on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases in Mali and the development of vaccines to address these diseases. In conjunction with the team at CVD-Mali (Centre pour le Developpement des Vaccins - Mali), headed by Dr. Samba Sow, she has conducted and participated in the following vaccine-development activities:
- Series of trials of meningococcal A conjugate vaccine under the sponsorship of the Meningitis Vaccine Project. This collaborative effort included investigators in The Gambia and Senegal. The studies led to the prequalification of MenAfriVac and eventually the introduction of this vaccine to the countries of the African meningitis belt.
- Pivotal vaccine trial that demonstrated the efficacy of live, oral, pentavalent rotavirus vaccine (Rotateq) in Africa.
- Large trial of trivalent influenza vaccine, administered to pregnant Malian women, demonstrated its efficacy in the prevention of influenza in the infants up to 6 months of age.
- Phase II trials of a candidate vaccines against Ebolavirus in Malian adults and children.
- Phase IV trial of pertussis vaccine in pregnant women.
- Phase II and III trials of pentavalent conjugate meningococcal vaccine.
In addition to assisting in the development of these important vaccines, Dr. Tapia and the CVD-Mali team have described the epidemiology of pediatric infections with Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae and meningococcus. These data have led to the introduction of life-saving vaccines (Hib conjugate vaccine, 13-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, meningococcal group A conjugate vaccine) into the Malian Expanded Programme on Immunization.
Dr. Tapia has also worked with CVD-Mali on studies to measure Group B Streptococcus (GBS) colonization rates among pregnant Malian women, to determine the etiology of moderate to severe pneumonia in hospitalized Malian children (as one of the sites of the Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health study, PERCH) and the cause of death of children less than 5 years of age (Child Health and Mortality Prevention Surveillance Network, CHAMPS).
Most recently, Dr. Tapia has been an investigator on Phase III trials of COVID-19 vaccines and has been working with local Latino community advocates to encourage enrollment in studies and getting vaccinated.
Mali, pediatric, epidemiology, meningococcal A, meningitis, influenza, Ebola, Ebolavirus, Haemophilus influenzae type b, Streptococcus pneumoniae, meningococcus, GBS, COVID-19, vaccines, vaccine trials, infectious diseases.
Dr. Tapia's clinical specialties include pediatric infectious diseases and traveler’s health.