IDCRC Investigator Profile: Nadine Rouphael, MD


Nadine Rouphael is the Sumner E. Thompson, III Vaccinology Professor in Infectious Diseases, Emory School of Medicine and the executive director of the Hope Clinic, the clinical arm of the Emory Vaccine Center. She is the 2022 recipient of the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s (IDSA) Oswald Avery Award for Early Achievement, which recognizes achievements in infectious disease research by a member of IDSA who is 45 or younger.

How long have you worked with a VTEU?

Upon completing my post-doctoral training at Emory and CDC, I joined the Emory Infectious Diseases Division as a junior faculty with primary assignment at the Emory VTEU in 2008. I have served as the Emory VTEU PI since 2018 (along with Evan Anderson and Carlos Del Rio). My career attests to Emory VTEU’s strong commitment to promoting the careers of the next generation of vaccinologists. Currently, Evan and I both serve as associate program director for the Emory T32 Vaccinology Training grant (with Walt Orenstein as director), and I am the joint PI (with Igho Ofotokun) of the NIH-NIAID Emory Stimulating Research in Residency (StARR R38) Program, awarded by NIAID, to train resident physicians in research. The silver lining of the pandemic has been leadership opportunities for VTEU junior investigators.

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

It has been quite a ride the past few years. Starting with co-leading ACTT-1-4 or DMID 20-0006 (with Aneesh Mehta); I vividly recall bringing study product to one of the Emory Healthcare hospitals where we had just started conducting clinical trials. Patients and health care providers viewed that box as a vehicle of hope. Within that year, both Remdesivir and Baricitinib were approved for the treatment of COVID-19.

I co-led DMID 20-0003, the first study to ever test a SARS-CoV2 vaccine candidate (mRNA-1273) with Evan Anderson and Lisa Jackson (Kaiser Washington VTEU). I recall how much our community rallied behind us, trusting us with their health, to come up with preventive solutions. This trial paved the way to COVE, the phase 3 vaccine efficacy study (led by Hana El Sahly, Baylor VTEU) and my engagement as international co-chair for CoVPN 3005 (along with Stephen Walsh) the Sanofi-GSK protein adjuvanted vaccine phase 3 trial. Despite many tribulations in an ever-changing pandemic, this was a rich learning experience.

We also worked on many next generation vaccine protocols including DMID 21-0002 and DMID 20-0034, with Dan Hoft (Saint Louis University VTEU) as our national chair and Paulina Rebolledo (IDCRC mentee) as our local PI. This year, I had the distinct pleasure of co-chairing COVAIL (COVID-19 Variant Immunologic Landscape Trial) with Angela Branche (University of Rochester VTEU) and working closely with DMID leadership and many IDCRC colleagues. Not to forget, the importance of Mix and Match (led locally by Kristy Rostad and Sri Edupuganti) and how this trial was able to have immediate impact on public health. Finally, MOMI VAX with the partnership of the Hope Clinic and our Obstetrics colleagues (Martina Badell), we watched infants from delivery to taking their first steps while helping support science along the way. Learn more about IDCRC Studies

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

It is truly an honor to have been part of such impactful research that brought much needed therapeutic and preventive measures to a ruthless pandemic. Beyond the academic accolades, there were these unique moments with the unbelievably dedicated community and the mission driven team that made all the difference.

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

The IDCRC is a network of excellence in clinical trials bringing solutions to infectious diseases threats with our collective surge capacity, incredible expertise, and collaboration. With additional resources, I feel the network can tackle any challenge.

What do you like to do outside of the VTEU?

Being French and Lebanese, I love to cook (the outcome of which is not always a guarantee). I like sports too – as a passionate soccer mom and occasional assistant coach – I am excited the FIFA World Cup is around the corner.