Nancy Sullivan, PhD, director of the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL), has been appointed the inaugural Edward Avedisian Professor, as well as professor of microbiology and biology. Prior to joining Boston University, Sullivan was the chief of the Biodefense Research Section at the Vaccine Research Center, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Sullivan’s appointment as Avedisian Chair marks an important moment for the University following the record $100 million naming gift last summer from late alumnus, investor, and musician Edward Avedisian. In addition to renaming the medical school, Mr. Avedisian’s grant included generous provisions to support future generations of medical students through need-based financial aid, support our faculty through professorships, and fund new education and research initiatives. The Avedisian Professorship, which is to be held by the director of the NEIDL, and provides annual support for research and teaching.
An internationally respected leader in infectious disease research, Sullivan brings extraordinary credentials to her appointment. She has devoted her career to high-impact science characterized by innovation and a vision for anticipating and preparing for emerging infectious diseases through insightful work on vaccines and therapeutics. Over the decades, her work has produced a host of translational breakthroughs, including the discovery of the first vaccine to protect primates from Ebola virus and of a protective monoclonal antibody, mAb114, that is being used in its treatment – work that contributed to her being named Time’s 2014 Person of the Year in “The Ebola Fighters” (the healthcare workers and scientists who tackled an outbreak of the disease in West Africa) and to her inclusion in the Politico Top 50 in 2015. She has additionally been an NIH subject matter expert in several areas including filoviruses, medical countermeasures for public health emergencies, accelerating COVID-19 therapeutic interventions and vaccines, and pandemic preparedness, and a World Health Organization subject matter expert on Marburg vaccines.