Profile: Maya Dunstan

Maya Dunstan, MS, Clinical Affairs Manager, Vaccine Clinical Trials Program, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

How long have you been with the VTEU?

I’ve worked in this position since 2002, starting as a research nurse, and currently as Clinical Affairs Manager for our vaccine clinical trials team. The Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (formerly known as Group Health - Center for Health Studies) became a VTEU site in 2007.

Tell us about your path to clinical research.  

I have a BSN from Humboldt State University (2000) and a MS in Biomedical Regulatory Affairs from the University of Washington (2014). I’ve been working in vaccine/infectious disease clinical trials since 2002. Prior to that I spent a brief time in pediatric primary care and in public health nursing. I enjoyed my research classes in nursing school and decided to seek out a research position when moving to Seattle in 2002, and have been with Lisa Jackson’s team ever since.

Briefly describe the IDCRC-supported trials you’ve worked on

Our site is participating in the Phase 1 Moderna mRNA-1273 Vaccine Trial (20-0003), Moderna's mRNA-1273.351 Varriant Vaccine Phase 1 Trial (21-0002), the Heterologous Prime Boost Mix and Match Study (21-0012), the ENSEMBLE Study with Janssen's Ad26.COV2.S Investigational Vaccine (CoVPN 3003) and Moderna's mRNA-1273 Vaccine: The COVE Study (CoVPN 3001). Learn more about IDCRC Studies.

Of these trials, what has been the most impactful or highlight of the work?

Our first trial with IDCRC involvement was 20-0003, the Phase 1 Moderna mRNA-1273 trial, which ended up being the first COVID-19 vaccine trial in the world to administer an investigational vaccine on March 16, 2020. This started off a whirlwind of COVID-19 vaccine-related activities, which as of yet have showed no sign of slowing down. The work has been stressful, but it has been exciting to be a part of this massive effort.

What is a strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC during the pandemic and beyond?

The goal of this network is to have an existing method of rapid response to newly emerging infectious diseases. Because of this, we were able to move quickly once the possibility of a coming pandemic was identified. Vaccine and treatment clinical trials were launched in record time, providing prevention and treatment measures that in non-emergent situations would have taken many years.