Wednesday, June 11, 2014
University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, has appointed Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, as Associate Dean for Global Health, Vaccinology and Infectious Diseases. This appointment will become effective in January 2015, after Dr. Levine transitions from his current role as Director of the Center for Vaccine Development, which he co-founded and has led for 40 years.
Dr. Levine is one of the fathers of the discipline now known as “vaccinology,” which incorporates measurement of the burden of a disease to direct vaccine research; construction of vaccine candidates; clinical trials to demonstrate the safety of a vaccine and its ability to stimulate immune responses and to protect against disease; and documentation of the public health impact that follows introduction of the vaccine into widespread use. Historically, these had been disparate components, but Dr. Levine was a pioneer who undertook the challenge of integrating the components as steps in a continuum that collectively constitutes a discipline. “When we started the CVD, vaccinology was not yet a discipline, and even now there are only a few places in the world that have this as a discipline – the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Oxford, Hopkins,” says Dr. Levine.
The earliest NIH-supported formal training programs in the field of vaccinology was established by Dr. Levine here at the School of Medicine. It was, and still is, funded with a T32 Grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Levine has also oriented the discipline at Maryland to address the development and introduction of vaccines to prevent diseases afflicting impoverished populations in the developing world.
“Dr. Levine has been a leader in all the major component sub-areas that comprise vaccinology,” says Dean Reece. “Accordingly, he has made seminal contributions in understanding how certain bacterial pathogens cause disease, constructed vaccine candidates, carried out clinical vaccine trials, measured immune responses to the vaccines, performed large-scale field trials to assess vaccine efficacy and measured the impact on disease burden following introduction of vaccines into routine immunization programs. He has applied his extensive experience working on the epidemiology and prevention of infectious diseases in developing countries to his research on pathogenesis and the development and testing of vaccines, saving thousands of lives around the globe.”
Dr. Levine is the Bessie & Simon Grollman Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine, and has secondary appointments in Epidemiology & Public Health, Microbiology & Immunology, and Pediatrics. He received his MD from the Medical College of Virginia (1967) and his DTPH from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (1974), and is Board certified in both Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine.
Dr. Levine also has a long track record of training individuals to pursue careers in basic, clinical and field vaccinology, and many of his students have themselves gone on to make major contributions to vaccinology.
Dr. Levine sits on editorial boards of multiple journals and consults for many organizations, including the World Health Organization, the National Institutes for Health (NIH), the NIH Vaccine Research Center, the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Department of Defense, and multiple vaccine biotech companies and vaccine manufacturers. He was a member of the first Working Group of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI Alliance) and was Co-Chair of the GAVI Task Force on Research and Development. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, the Association of American Physicians, the American Society of Clinical Investigation; and the Academy of Microbiology. He is Past President of both the American Epidemiological Society and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).
Among the many honors that Dr. Levine has received are the Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Award for lifetime achievement in vaccinology, the Maurice Hilleman/Merck Award from the American Society for Microbiology (for major contributions to vaccine discovery, vaccine development, and/or control of vaccine-preventable diseases), the rank of “Grand Officer of the National Order of Mali” by the President of Mali (for introducing new vaccines to the children of Mali), the Donald Mackay Medal of the ASTMH for lifetime contributions in improving tropical public health, and selection by Baltimore Magazine as “Baltimorean of the Year” in 2001. Dr. Levine is inventor or co-inventor on many issued vaccine-related patents. He has more than 570 publications in refereed journals, 115 book chapters, and is Senior Editor of the 4th edition of New Generation Vaccines, a textbook on research vaccinology.
In his new role, Dr. Levine will expand the scope and depth of the School of Medicine’s involvement in global medicine. SOM is currently involved in research and service in 34 countries. Dr. Levine is looking forward to spending more time in the field. “I like the field work of vaccinology that puts mud on my boots and that allows me to translate our basic science research to clinical applications,” he says.
A national search to find the next Director of the CVD has been launched. The search committee is being chaired by Claire Fraser, PhD, Director of the School of Medicine’s Institute for Genomes Sciences and a Professor in the Department of Medicine.