IDCRC Profile: James (Jim) Campbell, MD, MS

Jim Capmbell headshot

Jim Campbell, MD, MS, is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is currently serving as interim head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics. He also serves as vice chair of the Institutional Review Board, director of the University of Maryland Baltimore Clinical Research Training and Mentoring Program, and vice chair of the Committee on Infectious Diseases (COID or “Red Book Committee”) for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

He was recently announced as the IDCRC Leadership Group (LG) vice-chair. Read the full announcement of his recent appointment here.  

Briefly describe your background in infectious disease research.

 I have been involved in infectious disease research since my pediatric infectious diseases fellowship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, about 25 years ago. From the outset, I was involved in a number of VTEU vaccine studies and in international vaccine and vaccine-preventable disease research at the Center for Vaccine Development. Then, after six years on the faculty, in 2007, I decided to pick up my family and move to Kampala, Uganda, to work for the CDC. There, I directed two of the nine sites in the Partners PrEP study and ran the Home Based AIDS Care study, in addition to assisting in a number of outbreak investigations. Five years later, I returned to the University of Maryland to lead the Maternal-Child section of the CVD. I have worked on the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable diseases (e.g., vaccine coverage in Ethiopia, causes of death in Bamako, Mali, and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccines among US parents) and the clinical testing of the safety, tolerability, immunogenicity, and efficacy of vaccines in adults and children.  

What do you believe to be the strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC?

Our consortium has many strengths, but one I will highlight here is its depth and breadth of knowledge in the field of vaccinology. This includes basic science discoveries, vaccine design, immunologic correlates and cutting-edge technologies, systems biology, adjuvants, novel delivery platforms, protocol design, regulatory affairs, and quickly addressing the most pressing needs when epidemics or pandemics emerge.  

Describe the importance of the VTEUs.

The VTEUs are where all the exciting work of vaccine development and testing happens in our consortium. I think of all of our sites as both incubators and implementers. As incubators, there is a tremendous amount of work being accomplished, from varied funding sources, which enriches us in everything ranging from the basic workings of immune responses, to advocacy for equitable distribution of licensed vaccines. All this infusion of vaccine-related knowledge allows each VTEU to fulfill its critical role in implementing some of the world’s most important vaccine research.  

What are you looking forward to most in your new IDCRC role?

I am most looking forward to both the tactical and strategic parts of the role. By tactical, I mean using any experience I have to help in the day-to-day execution of efficient and high-quality vaccine research. By strategic, I mean reminding our group to intermittently step back and make sure we are engaged in the most important and far-reaching spheres of study. As a pediatrician and someone with an international research history, I also hope to bring added value to those realms. I look forward to working with everyone as I begin this new role.