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Kirsten Lyke is part of the reason why the world has coronavirus vaccines.

As a professor of medicine and lead researcher at the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Lyke led the Phase 1 trials for the Pfizer/NioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and served as co-investigator for the Moderna and Novavax COVID-19 vaccine trials.

Additionally, Lyke served as national co-chair and principal investigator on a study on mix-and-match booster doses and presented the study’s findings to the Food and Drug Administration and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in late 2021, leading to the FDA’s recommendations on this approach.

Through it all, Lyke worked as an attending physician in the critical care units at the University of Maryland Medical Center, taking care of patients with COVID-19, which she calls “the most gratifying part of pandemic work.” Additionally, she worked to spread information on the coronavirus vaccine around Maryland, with medical trainees, government officials and the public. She holds a position on Governor Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group.

Lyke has a background in infectious diseases and started her career studying malaria. This work eventually led her to vaccine studies, and she has since worked on studies testing vaccines for HIV, Zika and Ebola. In fact, in order to work on coronavirus vaccine development, Lyke had to pause her current research, which is on dengue, Ebola and malaria vaccines.

A faculty member of UMB’s School of Medicine since 2002, Lyke is a board-certified adult infectious disease specialist. She is the director of the UMB’s Malaria Vaccine and Challenge Unit.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.