IDCRC Investigator Profile: Kirsten E. Lyke, MD


Kirsten E. Lyke, MD is a professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She serves on the IDCRC Malaria/Tropical Diseases Expert Working Group.

How long have you worked with the Vaccine & Treatment Evaluation Unit (VTEU)?  

I was the principal investigator for my first VTEU trial in 2005/6 (05-0053) - An Interventional Plasmodium falciparum Malaria Challenge Model Utilizing the NF54 Strain of Parasite Transmitted by Aseptic A. stephensi Mosquitoes to Healthy Malaria-Naïve Adult Volunteers.

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

While I’m individually funded for most of my work, I have had occasional VTEU/IDCRC trial activity. Most of the trials that I have led relate to malaria vaccine work and include the above Aseptic PfSPZ Challenge and 11-0027 A Phase I, Randomized Malaria Challenge Study of Intradermally-Administered Infectious (Replication-intact), Cryopreserved Plasmodium falciparum Sporozoites (PfSPZ Challenge) in Malaria-Naïve Adults. Recently, I submitted the concept for the Mix and Match COVID-19 Booster Study, which was funded by the IDCRC and other funds, and for which I serve as co-chair for DMID 21-0012 Heterologous Prime Boost, Mix and Match Study.

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

The Mix and Match Study has been the most impactful as it directly led to a nationwide approval for the mix and match of COVID-19 booster vaccines. Team members testified to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the results impacted the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines immediately, as well as provided additional strong evidence of the immunogenicity of booster vaccines. Read more about the study result

What is a strength or example of the importance of the IDCRC?

The IDCRC/VTEU system provides the infrastructure for funding important vaccine work domestically as well as funds important research towards infectious diseases that plague populations globally. However, pre-pandemic, it suffered from the inability to be flexible and rapidly deploy funds for illnesses of interest such as Ebola and Zika. To their credit, the IDCRC has pivoted and become an instrumental funding mechanism for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine development.