Black History Month Spotlight - Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett - Future Historical Figure of Black Excellence
One current figure who will no doubt go down in Black history is Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett. Dr. Corbett is one of the key leading scientists for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tasked by the government to find a vaccine for Covid-19.
Dr. Corbett’s team at NIH worked with the pharmaceutical company, Moderna to develop one of the two mRNA vaccines that achieved an effective rate of over 90%. As a result, the Moderna vaccine was granted emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Where it all began
Even at a student level, Dr. Corbett excelled and was selected into Project SEED, which is a program for gifted minority students which allowed Dr. Corbett to spend her summer holidays working in laboratories, one of them being NIH labs, where she would be a key member of the team that would develop the vaccine for the coronavirus. Dr. Corbett’s experience through Project Seed would later see her receiving a scholarship to the University of Maryland.
After graduating, Dr. Corbett received her Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology while studying virus infectious as a research assistant, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
In 2014, Dr. Corbett would join the NIH Vaccine Research Center, headed up by Dr. Fauci, as a postdoctoral fellow. It would be here that her work with pathogens would commence.
When the Coronavirus outbreak occurred, Dr. Fauci predicted that it could be possible for the world to see a vaccine in about a year. Dr. Corbett took those words to heart and believed it could be done too. Leaning on her 6 years of experience, Dr. Corbett and the team went to work and were able to deliver on that goal.
Dr. Corbett has been able to lead by example, to show a younger generation of minorities that it is possible to achieve your goals and be at the forefront and a key team player in the development of something of this magnitude.
In the early days of Coronavirus, President Trump visited the NIH facilities to discuss the work the facility had been doing and to discuss the vaccine efforts that could be made. Dr. Corbett was at the forefront of this meeting, which saw her rise in notoriety within the country.
It was quickly following that visit that Dr. Corbett and her team began working on a vaccine that would later be approved and ready to be rolled out, only 10 months later.
The development of the vaccine allows the body to learn how to fend off a virus. By allowing the body to basically identify the virus and cause the body to fight against the virus.
Dr. Corbett has cemented herself as a historical figure and shows true Black excellence.
She will continue to inspire not only people of minority, but women of all color to rise up and contribute-- to believe that you can do well and follow your dreams, no matter how far out of reach they might seem.