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Kizzmekia S. Corbett

Kizzmekia S. Corbett

Kizzmekia (Kizzy) Corbett is an American viral immunologist.

Kizzmeikia (Kizzy) Shanta Corbett is an American-born viral immunologist working at the National Institutes for Health (NIH) based in Bethesda, Maryland, as a research fellow in the Vaccine Research Center (VRC). Corbett is the scientific lead researcher for the VRC Coronavirus Team, researching possible vaccine solutions for the virus.

Life and education

Kizzy Corbett was born on January 26, 1986, in Hurdle Mills, North Carolina, and is the daughter of Rhonda Brooks. Corbett and her family, which includes her mother, step-father, and six siblings, moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina after Corbett's fourth-grade teacher insisted Kizzy be placed on the "most demanding academic track possible."

Myrtis Bradsher

Myrtis Bradsher was Corbett's fourth-grade teacher at Oak Lane Elementary school in Hurdle Mills, N.C. Bradsher went on record with The Washington Post in May of 2020 to recall her encounters with a young Kizzy Corbett and, more specifically, her mother Rhonda Brooks, asking and urging Brooks to place Corbett in advanced classes for "exceptional" students, which led to Corbett's advancement academically.

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Corbett received many acceptances to various colleges but accepted her offer from The University of Maryland because of her admittance into the Meyerhoff Scholars Program. In an interview with NBC News, Corbett stated she accepted the Meyerhoff offer because of the full-ride scholarship, the network, and the overall program.

While at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Corbett obtained a Bachelor of Science (BS), Biology/ Biological Sciences, General degree. She also was a member of Alpha Kappa Delta (sociology national honor society) and Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honors Organization and graduated in 2008.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Corbett began her education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009 and graduated with her doctorate in philosophy (Ph.D.) in microbiology and immunology in 2014.

Career

Kizzy Corbett's science-related professional life began when she was in high school and has developed over the course of her education and professional experience.

Project SEED

At the age of fifteen, Corbett received an invitation to participate in Project SEED, an American Chemical Society merit-based summer experience program for economically disadvantaged teens interested in mathematics and science. She attended the program for two consecutive summers and was allowed to work in laboratories studying the chemistry of pharmaceuticals and other related fields.

SUNY StonyBrook

In the summer term of 2005 (May-August), Corbett worked under Gloria Viboud, Ph.D., in a lab studying Yersinia pseudotuberculosis pathogenesis, the development of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, which is a far-east scarlet fever-like ailment.

The University of Maryland, School of Nursing

From September of 2006 to May of 2007, Corbett worked under Susan Dorsey, Ph.D., while attending the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. It is not specified what types of work or studies were conducted.

National Institutes of Health

After graduating from the University of Maryland, Corbett went on to work at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as a biological science trainer alongside Dr. Barney Graham. Together they worked on the respiratory syncytial virus's pathogenesis and developing an innovative vaccine advancement platform from 2006-2009. Corbett left the NIH in 2009 to obtain her Ph.D. from UNC at Chapel Hill but returned to the NIH after graduation in 2014 as a research fellow working in viral immunology. Corbett's early research focused on developing Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) vaccine antigens. During this research, she discovered a simple process to make spike proteins stabilized in a conformation that makes them more immunogenic and manufacturable. This was done in collaboration with researchers at Scripps Research Institute and Dartmouth College.

Dengue virus dissertation

During Corbett's time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she focused on the dengue virus in Sri Lankan children under the supervision of Aravinda de Silva. Corbett studied the human response to the pathogens and the antibody production due to the dengue virus. Additionally, she studied how the virus DNA impacts the severity of cases. Corbett spent her off-campus fellowship in Sri Lanka as a visiting scholar with the Genetech Research Institute from April 2014 to May 2014. While in Sri Lanka, Corbett did follow-up exams on the children who provided initial samples for her research and obtained updated samples to study the antibody development further and write her dissertation that can be found here.

COVID-19 Response

In 2020, after the onset of the Coronavirus global pandemic, Corbett began working on a vaccine for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), at the NIH's Vaccine Research Center (VRC), after noticing the similarities between Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and COVID-19. The team used prior knowledge of the coronavirus S proteins to begin working on a solution for COVID. Using Corbett's prior knowledge and assistance and collaboration from the University of Texas at Austin, the teams transplanted stabilizing mutations from SARS-CoV S protein into SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins. Previously, Corbett had been a team member responsible for the cryogenic electron microscopy (CryoEM) structure of the SARS CoV-2 spike protein. This previous research suggested that messenger RNA (mRNA) encoding to S protein could be used to agitate the human immune response to produce antibodies against COVID.

Moderna Therapeutics Partnership

Corbett's team at the NIH VRC partnered with Moderna for vaccine development and manufacturing needs in 2020 and entered the Phase I clinical trial 66 days after the virus sequence was released. The phase I trial was conducted using 45 people and two injections that were delivered 28 days apart.

Moderna announced on November 15, 2020, that it had seen 94.5% efficacy in the vaccine in its Phase III clinical trial. The COVID-19 vaccine, also known as the mRNA-1273 vaccine, was co-developed by Moderna and Corbett's team at the NIH from its stabilized SARS-CoV-2 spike immunogen. There have been 30,000 clinical trial participants across the United States since the trial began in July of 2020.

Timeline

October 15, 2020
Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates
August 5, 2020
The investigational vaccine, known as mRNA-1273, protected mice from infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to research published today in Nature.
April 12, 2020
The woman leading COVID-19 vaccine trials is Kizzmekia Corbett.
January 26, 1986
Kizzmekia S. Corbett was born in Hurdle Mills.

People

Name
Role
LinkedIn

Further reading

Title
Author
Link
Type
Date

A high-throughput inhibition assay to study MERS-CoV antibody interactions using image cytometry

Web

A high-throughput inhibition assay to study MERS-CoV antibody interactions using image cytometry

Osnat Rosen, Leo Li-Ying Chan, Olubukola M Abiona, Portia Gough, Lingshu Wang, Wei Shi, Yi Zhang, Nianshuang Wang, Wing-Pui Kong, Jason S McLellan, Barney S Graham, Kizzmekia S Corbett

Journal

March 1, 2019

A platform incorporating trimeric antigens into self-assembling nanoparticles reveals SARS-CoV-2-spike nanoparticles to elicit substantially higher neutralizing responses than spike alone

Web

2016

A platform incorporating trimeric antigens into self-assembling nanoparticles reveals SARS-CoV-2-spike nanoparticles to elicit substantially higher neutralizing responses than spike alone

Baoshan Zhang, Cara W. Chao, Yaroslav Tsybovsky, Olubukola M. Abiona, Geoffrey B. Hutchinson, Juan I. Moliva, Adam S. Olia, Amarendra Pegu, Emily Phung, Guillaume B. E. Stewart-Jones, Raffaello Verardi, Lingshu Wang, Shuishu Wang, Anne Werner, Eun Sung Yang, Christina Yap, Tongqing Zhou, John R. Mascola, Nancy J. Sullivan, Barney S. Graham, Kizzmekia S. Corbett & Peter D. Kwong

Journal

October 23, 2020

Evaluation of the mRNA-1273 Vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 in Nonhuman Primates

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Barbara Flynn, Kathryn E. Foulds, Joseph R. Francica, Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum, Anne P. Werner, Britta Flach, Sarah O'Connell, Kevin W. Bock, Mahnaz Minai, Bianca M. Nagata, Hanne Andersen, David R. Martinez, Amy T. Noe, Naomi Douek, Mitzi M. Donaldson, Nadesh N. Nji, Gabriela S. Alvarado, Darin K. Edwards, Dillon R. Flebbe, Evan Lamb, Nicole A. Doria-Rose, Bob C. Lin, Mark K. Louder, Sijy O'Dell, Stephen D. Schmidt, Emily Phung, Lauren A. Chang, Christina Yap, John-Paul M. Todd, Laurent Pessaint, Alex Van Ry, Shanai Browne, Jack Greenhouse, Tammy Putman-Taylor, Amanda Strasbaugh, Tracey-Ann Campbell, Anthony Cook, Alan Dodson, Katelyn Steingrebe, Wei Shi, Yi Zhang, Olubukola M. Abiona, Lingshu Wang, Amarendra Pegu, Eun Sung Yang, Kwanyee Leung, Tongqing Zhou, I-Ting Teng, Alicia Widge, Ingelise Gordon, Laura Novik, Rebecca A. Gillespie, Rebecca J. Loomis, Juan I. Moliva, Guillaume Stewart-Jones, Sunny Himansu, Wing-Pui Kong, Martha C. Nason, Kaitlyn M. Morabito, Tracy J. Ruckwardt, Julie E. Ledgerwood, Martin R. Gaudinski, Peter D. Kwong, John R. Mascola, Andrea Carfi, Mark G. Lewis, Ralph S. Baric, Adrian McDermott, Ian N. Moore, Nancy J. Sullivan, Mario Roederer, Robert A. Seder, Barney S. Graham

Journal

October 15, 2020

Glycan repositioning of influenza hemagglutinin stem facilitates the elicitation of protective cross-group antibody responses

Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum, Geoffrey B. Hutchinson, Jeffrey C. Boyington, Syed M. Moin, Rebecca A. Gillespie, Yaroslav Tsybovsky, Tyler Stephens, John R. Vaile, Julia Lederhofer, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Brian E. Fisher, Hadi M. Yassine, Sarah F. Andrews, Michelle C. Crank, Adrian B. McDermott, John R. Mascola, Barney S. Graham & Masaru Kanekiyo

Web

February 7, 2020

Immunogenicity and structures of a rationally designed

prefusion MERS-CoV spike antigen

Jesper Pallesen, Nianshuang Wang, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Daniel Wrapp, Robert N. Kirchdoerfer, Hannah L. Turner, Christopher A. Cottrell, Michelle M. Becker, Lingshu Wange, Wei Shie, Wing-Pui Konge, Erica L. Andres, Arminja N. Kettenbach, Mark R. Denison, James D. Chappell, Barney S. Graham, Andrew B. Warda, and Jason S. McLellan

Journal

July 11, 2017

Importance of Neutralizing Monoclonal Antibodies Targeting Multiple Antigenic Sites on the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Spike Glycoprotein To Avoid Neutralization Escape

Lingshu Wang, Wei Shi, James D. Chappell, M. Gordon Joyce, Yi Zhang, Masaru Kanekiyo, Michelle M. Becker, Neeltje van Doremalen, Robert Fischer, Nianshuang Wang, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Misook Choe, Rosemarie D. Mason, Joseph G. Van Galen, Tongqing Zhou, Kevin O. Saunders, Kathleen M. Tatti, Lia M. Haynes, Peter D. Kwong, Kayvon Modjarrad, Wing-Pui Kong, Jason S. McLellan, Mark R. Denison, Vincent J. Munster, John R. Mascola, Barney S. Graham

Web

April 2018

JCI - Prototype pathogen approach for pandemic preparedness: world on fire

Web

LY-CoV555, a rapidly isolated potent neutralizing antibody, provides

protection in a non-human primate model of SARS-CoV-2 infection

Bryan E Jones, Patricia L Brown-Augsburger, Kizzmekia S Corbett, Kathryn Westerndorf, Julian Davies, Thomas P Cujec, Christopher M Wiethoff, Jamie L Blackbourne, Beverly A Heinz, Denisa Foster, Richard E Higgs, Deepa Balasubramaniam, Lingshu Wang, Roza Bidshahri, Lucas Kraft, Yuri Hwang, Stefanie Zentelis, Kevin R Jepson, Rodrigo Goya, Maia A Smith, David W Collins, Samuel J Hinshaw, Sean A Tycho, Davide Pellacani, Ping Xiang, Krithika Muthuraman, Solmaz Sobhanifar, Marissa H Piper, Franz J Triana, Jorg Hendle, Anna Pustilnik, Andrew C Adams, Shawn J Berens, Ralph S Baric, David R Martinez, Robert W Cross, Thomas W Geisbert, Viktoriya Borisevich, Olubukola Abiona, Hayley M Belli, Maren de Vries, Adil Mohamed, Meike Dittmann, Marie Samanovic, Mark J Mulligan, Jory A Goldsmith, Ching-Lin Hsieh, Nicole V Johnson, Daniel Wrapp, Jason S McLellan, Bryan C Barnhart, Barney S Graham, John R Mascola, Carl L Hansen, Ester Falconer

Journal

January 1, 2020

Mucosal delivery of human papillomavirus pseudovirus-encapsidated plasmids improves the potency of DNA vaccination

B S Graham, R C Kines, K S Corbett, J Nicewonger, T R Johnson, M Chen, D LaVigne, J N Roberts, N Cuburu, J T Schiller & C B Buck

Web

2009

NIH-Moderna investigational COVID-19 vaccine shows promise in mouse studies

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D.

Web

August 5, 2020

Pre-fusion structure of a human coronavirus spike protein

Robert N. Kirchdoerfer, Christopher A. Cottrell, Nianshuang Wang, Jesper Pallesen, Hadi M. Yassine, Hannah L. Turner, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Barney S. Graham, Jason S. McLellan & Andrew B. Ward

Web

2005

Preexisting Neutralizing Antibody Responses Distinguish Clinically Inapparent and Apparent Dengue Virus Infections in a Sri Lankan Pediatric Cohort

Corbett, Kizzmekia S., Katzelnick, Leah, Tissera, Hasitha, Amerasinghe, Ananda, de Silva, Aruna Dharshan, de Silva, Aravinda M.

Web

October 21, 2014

Primary Human mDC1, mDC2, and pDC Dendritic Cells Are Differentially Infected and Activated by Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Teresa R. Johnson, Christina N. Johnson, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Gretchen C. Edwards, Barney S. Graham

Journal

January 28, 2011

Prototype pathogen approach for pandemic preparedness: world on fire

Barney S. Graham and Kizzmekia S. Corbett

Journal

April 30, 2020

Safety and Immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Older Adults

Evan J. Anderson, M.D., Nadine G. Rouphael, M.D., Alicia T. Widge, M.D., Lisa A. Jackson, M.D., M.P.H., Paul C. Roberts, Ph.D., Mamodikoe Makhene, M.D., M.P.H., James D. Chappell, M.D., Ph.D., Mark R. Denison, M.D., Laura J. Stevens, M.S., Andrea J. Pruijssers, Ph.D., Adrian B. McDermott, Ph.D., Britta Flach, Ph.D.

Journal

September 29, 2020

Safety and Immunogenicity of SARS-CoV-2 mRNA-1273 Vaccine in Older Adults

Evan J. Anderson, Nadine G. Rouphael, Alicia T. Widge, Lisa A. Jackson, Paul C. Roberts, Mamodikoe Makhene, James D. Chappell, Mark R. Denison, Laura J. Stevens, Andrea J. Pruijssers, Adrian B. McDermott, Britta Flach, Bob C. Lin, Nicole A. Doria-Rose, Sijy O'Dell, Stephen D. Schmidt, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Phillip A. Swanson, Marcelino Padilla, Kathy M. Neuzil, Hamilton Bennett, Brett Leav, Mat Makowski, Jim Albert, Kaitlyn Cross, Venkata Viswanadh Edara, Katharine Floyd, Mehul S. Suthar, David R. Martinez, Ralph Baric, Wendy Buchanan, Catherine J. Luke, Varun K. Phadke, Christina A. Rostad, Julie E. Ledgerwood, Barney S. Graham, John H. Beigel

Journal

September 29, 2020

SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine design enabled by prototype pathogen preparedness

Web

SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine design enabled by prototype pathogen preparedness

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Darin K. Edwards, Sarah R. Leist, Olubukola M. Abiona, Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum, Rebecca A. Gillespie, Sunny Himansu, Alexandra Schäfer, Cynthia T. Ziwawo, Anthony T. DiPiazza, Kenneth H. Dinnon, Sayda M. Elbashir, Christine A. Shaw, Angela Woods, Ethan J. Fritch, David R. Martinez, Kevin W. Bock, Mahnaz Minai, Bianca M. Nagata, Geoffrey B. Hutchinson, Kai Wu, Carole Henry, Kapil Bahl, Dario Garcia-Dominguez, LingZhi Ma, Isabella Renzi, Wing-Pui Kong, Stephen D. Schmidt, Lingshu Wang, Yi Zhang, Emily Phung, Lauren A. Chang, Rebecca J. Loomis, Nedim Emil Altaras, Elisabeth Narayanan, Mihir Metkar, Vlad Presnyak, Cuiping Liu, Mark K. Louder, Wei Shi, Kwanyee Leung, Eun Sung Yang, Ande West, Kendra L. Gully, Laura J. Stevens, Nianshuang Wang, Daniel Wrapp, Nicole A. Doria-Rose, Guillaume Stewart-Jones, Hamilton Bennett, Gabriela S. Alvarado, Martha C. Nason, Tracy J. Ruckwardt, Jason S. McLellan, Mark R. Denison, James D. Chappell, Ian N. Moore, Kaitlyn M. Morabito, John R. Mascola, Ralph S. Baric, Andrea Carfi & Barney S. Graham

Web

2017

SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine Development Enabled by Prototype Pathogen Preparedness

Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Darin Edwards, Sarah R. Leist, Olubukola M. Abiona, Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum, Rebecca A. Gillespie, Sunny Himansu, Alexandra Schäfer, Cynthia T. Ziwawo, Anthony T. DiPiazza, Kenneth H. Dinnon, Sayda M. Elbashir, Christine A. Shaw, Angela Woods, Ethan J. Fritch, David R. Martinez, Kevin W. Bock, Mahnaz Minai, Bianca M. Nagata, Geoffrey B. Hutchinson, Kapil Bahl, Dario Garcia-Dominguez, LingZhi Ma, Isabella Renzi, Wing-Pui Kong, Stephen D. Schmidt, Lingshu Wang, Yi Zhang, Laura J. Stevens, Emily Phung, Lauren A. Chang, Rebecca J. Loomis, Nedim Emil Altaras, Elisabeth Narayanan, Mihir Metkar, Vlad Presnyak, Catherine Liu, Mark K. Louder, Wei Shi, Kwanyee Leung, Eun Sung Yang, Ande West, Kendra L. Gully, Nianshuang Wang, Daniel Wrapp, Nicole A. Doria-Rose, Guillaume Stewart-Jones, Hamilton Bennett, Martha C. Nason, Tracy J. Ruckwardt, Jason S. McLellan, Mark R. Denison, James D. Chappell, Ian N. Moore, Kaitlyn M. Morabito, John R. Mascola, Ralph S. Baric, Andrea Carfi, Barney S. Graham

Journal

June 11, 2020

Serologic cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 with endemic and seasonal Betacoronaviruses

Jennifer Hicks, Carleen Klumpp-Thomas, Heather Kalish, Anandakumar Shunmugavel, Jennifer Mehalko, John-Paul Denson, Kelly Snead, Matthew Drew, Kizzmekia Corbett, Barney Graham, Matthew D Hall, Dominic Esposito, Kaitlyn Sadtler

Journal

January 1, 2020

Stabilized coronavirus spikes are resistant to conformational changes induced by receptor recognition or proteolysis

Robert N. Kirchdoerfer, Nianshuang Wang, Jesper Pallesen, Daniel Wrapp, Hannah L. Turner, Christopher A. Cottrell, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Barney S. Graham, Jason S. McLellan & Andrew B. Ward

Web

2016

Structural Basis for Potent Neutralization of Betacoronaviruses by Single-Domain Camelid Antibodies

Daniel Wrapp, Dorien De Vlieger, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Gretel M. Torres, Nianshuang Wang, Wander Van Breedam, Kenny Roose, Loes van Schie, Markus Hoffmann, Stefan Pöhlmann, Barney S. Graham, Nico Callewaert, Bert Schepens, Xavier Saelens, Jason S. McLellan

Web

June 11, 2020

Structural Definition of a Neutralization-Sensitive Epitope on the MERS-CoV S1-NTD

Nianshuang Wang, Osnat Rosen, Lingshu Wang, Hannah L. Turner, Laura J. Stevens, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Charles A. Bowman, Jesper Pallesen, Wei Shi, Yi Zhang, Kwanyee Leung, Robert N. Kirchdoerfer, Michelle M. Becker, Mark R. Denison, James D. Chappell, Andrew B. Ward, Barney S. Graham, Jason S. McLellan

Web

September 24, 2019

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Documentaries, videos and podcasts

Title
Date
Link

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett -- The Novel Coronavirus Vaccine

May 15, 2020

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