‘Vanderbilt in the Vanguard’ panel to focus on university’s role in vaccine development

Chancellor's Lecture Series: Vanderbilt in the Vanguard

Vanderbilt scientists on the front lines of COVID-19 research will share their insights on the pandemic and subsequent vaccine development during a Chancellor’s Lecture Series event on Tuesday, March 23, at 5 p.m. CT, hosted by Chancellor Daniel Diermeier.

The virtual event, “Vanderbilt in the Vanguard: The Decades-long Journey to a Coronavirus Vaccine,” is in partnership with Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association and is free and open to the Vanderbilt community and the public. Advance registration is required.

Register now. >>

“The vaccine development for COVID-19 seemed to happen very quickly, but, in reality, the science behind it was more than 30 years in the making,” Diermeier noted. “And much of that groundbreaking research was conducted here at the university by the Vanderbilt faculty and alumni joining us for this panel discussion. I look forward to sharing their insights and stories with the community during this special event.

“We are excited to leverage the knowledge of Vanderbilt faculty and alumni who are among the world’s experts on COVID-19 and vaccines to share with the community,” he added.

The panelists for this virtual event include:

  • Barney Graham
    Barney Graham

    Barney Graham, PhD’91, an immunologist, virologist and clinical trials physician who is deputy director of the Vaccine Research Center and chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He has played a leading role in the design and development of the Moderna vaccine. Graham is a former Vanderbilt professor of medicine who first came to campus in 1979 to complete his medical training, which included two chief residencies and an infectious diseases fellowship. He earned a doctorate in microbiology at Vanderbilt in 1991.


  • Mark Denison
    Mark Denison

    Mark Denison, Edward Claiborne Stahlman Professor of Pediatric Physiology and Cell Metabolism and professor of pathology, microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University and director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Denison is one of the world’s foremost authorities on coronaviruses. His lab led the development of the COVID-19 antiviral remdesivir and was the first to show human antibody response to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.


  • Kathleen Neuzil
    Kathleen Neuzil

    Kathleen M. Neuzil, MPH’98, Myron M. Levine Professor in Vaccinology and director of the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is co-chair of the Coronavirus Prevention Network that has conducted the phase three trials of the COVID-19 vaccines. Throughout her career, she has conducted clinical and epidemiologic studies on vaccine-preventable diseases and was instrumental in the introductions of rotavirus, HPV and Japanese encephalitis vaccines. Neuzil completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine before earning a master of public health in 1998.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente, a distinguished biomedical scientist, will moderate the panel discussion. She is a professor of cell and developmental biology and holds a Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair.

Register for the virtual event.

The Chancellor’s Lecture Series is the university’s flagship event series that strives to connect the university community with leaders and visionaries who are shaping our world. The series includes and hosts globally known speakers whose influence and expertise are especially relevant and timely to the issues of the day.

For more information, visit the Chancellor’s Lecture Series website, or email cls@vanderbilt.edu.