Celebrating Ruth Karron as CIR Director

Ruth Karron, M.D. is a Professor of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a pediatric infectious diseases physician, virologist, and vaccinologist. Dr. Karron has substantial experience in the evaluation of respiratory virus vaccines in adults and children and leads Team RSVPed, the pediatric vaccine studies team at the Center for Immunization Research. Dr. Karron has served on several national and international vaccine advisory committees and panels, including the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), and the FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC), which she chaired from 2006-2008. She is a member of the WHO Product Development for Vaccines Advisory Committee (PDVAC) and the COVAX ACT-acclerator COVID Vaccine Maternal Immunization Working Group and chaired the Vaccines Advisory Panel for the Wellcome Trust.  In 2016, Dr. Karron received the Robert M. Chanock award for outstanding contributions to RSV research.

Dr. Karron served as the director of the CIR from 2007-2021.  Although she is stepping down as CIR director, she will remain leader of the RSVPed team, director of the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative and the WHO Collaborating Center on Vaccine Epidemiology and Evaluation.

As director, Dr. Karron grew the Center’s profile as a leader in vaccine research by building relationships with government and industry leaders in vaccine development. Although she maintained a heavy workload as the Center’s director, Dr. Karron mentored the Center’s principal investigators, encouraging them to grow their individual research programs under the CIR umbrella.  She made time to interact with CIR faculty and staff, often guiding career paths, providing opportunities for upward mobility and invaluable advice to help everyone at the Center reach their full potential.  Her democratic leadership style has expanded the Center’s reach and solidified its reputation as a vaccine research leader.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Karron has appeared on local and national media outlets to inform the public about COVID-19 vaccine research, safety and licensure. In 2020, Dr. Karron testified at a House Committee on Oversight and Reform virtual briefing regarding measures needed to ensure the safe and equitable conduct of COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, further elevating the Center’s profile among government leaders and the general public.

Dr. Karron’s impact as CIR director is immeasurable. We are proud to have called her our director. And while we’re excited that she is pursuing her many vaccine research and policy interests, we’re glad that she is staying at the CIR while doing so!

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