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Immunization Experts and Information for Media

Vaccination changed the world as we know it. Protection from certain infectious agents has revolutionized healthcare around the globe. St. Jude plays a leading role in vaccine research and education through work on diseases such as SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) and human papillomavirus (HPV).

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Immunization Experts

  • Heather M. Brandt, PhD

    Heather Brandt, PhD, St. Jude HPV Cancer Prevention Program director, tirelessly campaigns for increased vaccine uptake that can prevent six types of cancer. Human papillomavirus (HPV) affects everyone – both women and men – and can cause cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile and oral or throat cancers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80 million Americans are infected with the virus, while 36,000 will be diagnosed with HPV cancers this year; and over 200,000 will be diagnosed with cervical pre-cancer. With the Path to a Bright Future campaign, Brandt and national campaign partners aim to dramatically improve on-time HPV vaccination rates to reduce the threat of HPV cancers later in life.

  • Diego R. Hijano, MD, MSc

    Diego Hijano, MD, MSc, St. Jude Department of Infectious Diseases, created, developed and sustains a program for COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing that follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Tennessee Department of Health guidelines. The program is compliant with The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations and fits the specific needs, values and culture of St. Jude. As the primary investigator for the St. Jude study for patients with COVID-19, he also trained, coordinated and led 14 volunteers to investigate cases and conduct contact tracing at St Jude. He is the deputy medical director of Occupational Health and the COVID-19 Case Investigation & Contact Tracing Lead at St. Jude.

  • Richard Webby, PhD

    Richard Webby, PhD, St. Jude Department of Host-Microbe Interactions, directs the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds. He is an internationally recognized expert on influenza, specifically the group of viruses that led to the emergence of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 virus. Webby can provide information on novel vaccine approaches, virus ecology, virus pathogenicity and determinants of host susceptibility to viruses.