28th Annual Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal Ceremony logo

Sabin Vaccine Institute is proud to award Dr. Barney Graham the 2021 Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal for his contributions to the field of vaccinology over the last three decades and to recognize Dr. Nginache Nampota-Nkomba as the Rising Star Awardee.

The Albert B. Sabin Gold Medal has been awarded annually since 1994 to a distinguished member of the public health community who has made extraordinary contributions in the field of vaccinology or a complementary field. Recipients also serve as role models for young researchers through their work driving development and use of vaccines and mentorship of the next generation of vaccine scientists. The Gold Medal is the highest scientific honor given by the Sabin Vaccine Institute and commemorates the legacy of the late Dr. Albert B. Sabin.

2021 Award Recipients

Photo of Dr. Barney Graham

Gold Medal Recipient: Barney S. Graham, MD, PhD

Dr. Graham serves as deputy director of the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC) and assists the director in establishing and focusing the scientific direction for the VRC as a premier research organization. As chief of the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory, Dr. Graham also leads the development efforts for COVID-19 vaccines and universal influenza vaccines. In addition, he supports VRC product development through strategic advice on vaccine design as well as pre-clinical and clinical evaluation.

Dr. Graham is an immunologist, virologist and clinical trials physician whose primary interests are viral pathogenesis, immunity and vaccine development. His laboratory is focused on respiratory viral pathogens, pandemic preparedness and emerging viral diseases. His work applying structural biology, protein engineering and other new technologies has helped create vaccines for emerging threats while advancing precision vaccinology. When the SARS-Co V-2 sequence was first published, Dr. Graham’s team identified the relevant stabilizing mutations within hours, jump-starting the manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines. He has been involved in the clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines for more than 30 years and has an ongoing interest in science education and expanding research opportunities for people underrepresented in scientific fields.

Photo of Nginache Namota-Nkomba

Rising Star Awardee: Nginache Nampota-Nkomba, MBBS, MSc

Dr. Nampota-Nkomba is a research physician, clinical research site leader and vaccine advocate. She leads a research team at Blantyre Malaria Project (BMP), a center of excellence in infectious disease research in Malawi established as a multiversity partnership between the Universities of Malawi, Maryland (US) and Michigan State (US).

Her passion for the prevention of infectious diseases developed when she witnessed the toll taken on patients and families while working at the largest government referral hospital in Malawi. She joined BMP with the aim of improving the health of her fellow Malawians and people in need of lifesaving vaccines worldwide. Currently, she works to implement high quality, locally conceived and relevant evidence-generating research. Dr. Nampota-Nkomba is the on-site investigator for a clinical trial studying the immunogenicity and safety of a novel typhoid conjugate vaccine in African children. She also investigates HIV/AIDS and malaria in vulnerable populations, including studies of malaria prophylaxis in people living with HIV, the impact of HIV on infant immunity and antimalarial and antiretroviral drug interactions.

Event Date: 
Thursday, June 3, 2021
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