ILSB gets a visit from Kizzmekia Corbett, a developer of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine and Meyerhoff Scholar

  • 01.13.23
Left: photo of Kizzmekia Corbett, a developer of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine; Right: Exterior of Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Photo Credit: Marlayna Demond, UMBC ‘11

The Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building (ILSB) at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC) is charged by the energy of the thousands of students, staff, and faculty who have walked its halls since the building opened in 2019. As the school’s center for interdisciplinary research and innovation, the ILSB is rich with opportunities for integrating knowledge across departments and colleges in support of the university’s mission of expanding research in important areas for the state—and for the world.

One such example is the work of Kizzmekia (Kizzy) Corbett ’08, who visited the building this past April. Kizzy served as the scientific lead of the Vaccine Research Center’s coronavirus team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where she developed new technology for the first Covid-19 vaccines. Now an associate professor at Harvard, Kizzy shared her experiences as a student at UMBC and as a member of the university’s renowned Meyerhoff Scholars Program while touring the ILSB. The Meyerhoff Program was co-founded by former university president Freeman Hrabowski to increase diversity among future STEM leaders: according to UMBC, the school graduates more black MD and PhD degree-earners than any other college in the country. Describing its value to UMBC Magazine, Kizzy said, “It is simply one word: resources. It is equaling the playing field for people who have generally been under-resourced, and those are communities of color and people from underrepresented minority groups.”

This academic year, there are 245 students enrolled in the program, 69% from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups—and all are contributors to the energy of the university and the energy behind the ILSB, which Hrabowski says represents “the best of collaboration and interdisciplinarity, and also of community.”

We are proud to make spaces in which Meyerhoff graduates will make the future.