Dr. Anthony Fauci and Moderna Covid vaccine researcher and alumna Kizzmekia Corbett delivered virtual commencement speeches for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's class of 2021 on Friday.
"We are honored to have Dr. Anthony Fauci and Carolina alumna Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett deliver the Commencement address at our ceremonies this May," said the school's chancellor, Kevin M. Guskiewicz. "Over this past year, these two medical leaders have worked tirelessly to serve our country and keep us safe. ... Their commitment to saving lives through discovery and innovation will inspire our graduates as they enter the next chapter of their lives."
Fauci has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease since 1984, during which time he advised "seven presidents — from Ronald Reagan to Joe Biden — on global health matters, including Covid-19," according to UNC's press release.
Corbett who received her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the UNC School of Medicine in 2014, is a leading immunologist at the National Institutes of Health and a research fellow and the scientific lead for the Coronaviruses Vaccines and Immunopathogenesis Team at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
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"Her interest in rapid vaccine development led her to a postdoc fellowship at the NIH's Vaccine Research Center, where she studied coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS. That work laid the foundation for the speed with which her team developed a Covid-19 vaccine," according to the release.
Corbett and her NIH team worked with Moderna to create its mRNA Covid-19 vaccine and get it into trials in just two months, according to the release.