Co-developer of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine speaks in Hamilton

dr Barney Graham will also discuss the future of pandemic preparedness

A co-developer of the mRNA-COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by biotechnology company Moderna is scheduled to speak Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. at Hamilton High School’s Performing Arts Center, 327 Fairgrounds Road, during a free public presentation hosted by Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML). The hour-long presentation is intended for a general audience.

dr Barney Graham, who retired in 2021 as Associate Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Vaccine Research Center in Bethesda, Maryland, will discuss how years of biological research planning and investment led to the COVID-19 vaccine developed, tested and publicly available in less than a year. He will also discuss how the world can better prepare for future pandemics.

During his time at the VRC, Dr. Graham’s colleague Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett and it was her research team that designed the mRNA structure for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Ironically, RML had arranged for Dr. Graham was scheduled to visit Hamilton in Spring 2020 and give a public presentation on vaccine development in general – this visit was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.

dr Graham, now Senior Advisor for Global Health Equity and Professor of Medicine and Microbiology, Biochemistry and Immunology at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, has spent most of his career developing and testing multiple vaccine concepts at NIAID’s VRC. RML is also part of NIAID, and Dr. Graham has worked with RML researchers for the past decade.

“It is no exaggeration to say that Dr. Graham has played and will continue to play a transformative role in vaccine development and manufacturing,” said Marshall Bloom, MD, associate director of scientific management at RML. “We are fortunate that he can share his story with our community. His work is a perfect example of how fundamental scientific studies can have tremendous public health implications.”

NIAID conducts and supports research—at the NIH, in the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases and to develop better ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat these diseases. Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website available.

NIH, the country’s medical research agency, comprises 27 institutes and centers and is part of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The NIH is the primary federal agency that conducts and supports basic, clinical, and translational medical research investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH, visit