Jessica E. Atwell, PhD, MPH is an Assistant Scientist in the Department of International Health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and works with both the Center for Immunization Research and the Center for American Indian Health. Prior to earning her PhD in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control at JHSPH, Dr. Atwell specialized in molecular characterization of outbreaks of enteric and vaccine-preventable disease. She has expertise in the impact of vaccine hesitancy on pertussis resurgence, and has worked with both Gavi and PATH on issues related to new vaccine introduction in low-income countries.
Dr. Atwell’s current research focus is on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and maternal immunization. She has worked to understand and address challenges to maternal immunization, both biologic and behavioral, including maternal conditions (e.g. malaria and hypergammaglobulinemia) that may impair transplacental transfer of RSV antibody, the complexities of defining severe RSV disease for clinical trial endpoints, and barriers to uptake of vaccines in pregnancy among American Indian populations in the Southwest. She also studies the epidemiology of RSV and other respiratory viruses among children in tropical and low-resource settings, and the impact of severe respiratory infections in early childhood on lung function and asthma in older children. Dr. Atwell and colleagues at JHSPH will begin collaborating on a global phase III efficacy study of a maternal RSV vaccine starting in the fall of 2017.
She is a co-instructor of Vaccine Development and Application with Dr. Ruth Karron and Dr. Laura Hammitt and the Program Coordinator of the JHVI-sponsored student internship program, the Program in Applied Vaccine Experiences (PAVE).