Kizzmekia Corbett Sprinkling Her Black Girl Magic

Who Is Kizzmekia Corbett?

Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett
Credit: Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett/Wikimedia

Kizzmekia Corbett, is an African-American woman viral immunologist at the Vaccine Research Center (VRC) at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious DiseasesNational Institutes of Health (NIAID NIH) based in BethesdaMaryland.  Her and her team have already started clinical trials for a vaccine to fight covid-19. Kizzmekia is from a small town Hurdle Mills in North Carolina and she grew up in Hillsborough, a rural town in North Carolina.

Corbett graduated in 2004 from Orange High School in Hillsborough, North Carolina. In 2008, Corbett received a B.S. in biological sciences and sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), as a student in the Meyerhoff Scholars Program.

Kizzmekia Corbett, graduate student, works in the lab searching for the dengue fever vaccine.

After earning her bachelor’s degree, from 2006 to 2009, Corbett was a biological sciences trainer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she worked alongside Dr. Barney Graham. At the NIH, Corbett worked on the pathogenesis of respiratory syncytial virus pathogenesis as well as on a project focused on innovative vaccine platform advancement.  In 2014, Corbett received a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

When Dr. Barney Graham (vaccine and infectious disease specialist) met her 12 years ago, when she was an undergraduate doing summer work at the NIH’s Vaccine Research Center, and asked her what she ultimately wanted to do with her life.

“She said, ‘I want your job,'” Graham recalls. “From the very beginning, she was really pretty bold in her aspirations. And I, if I recall correctly, I was just glad to hear help was coming.”


“[She’s] a really quite outstanding, hard-working scientist,” UNC professor Ralph Baric, who is part of Corbett’s vaccine development team, told NBC News. “Fate has put her in a position to make a huge difference in human health, and it has made a good choice.”

Kizzmekia Corbett will definitely go down in the history books. She has set up a new platform for young black girls to aspire to have a seat on. Not only is she being a role model, she is saving America as well. It’s not everyday that you see a young black woman in her position and it is a delight to see. She will definitely go down in the history books as a leading Black Female Scientist.