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Katherine O'Brien, MD


Departmental Affiliation(s):

International Health
Division: Global Disease Epidemiology and Control
Epidemiology (Joint)

Center & Institute Affiliation(s):

Contact Information

621 N Washington St.
Baltimore , Maryland   21205


SciVal Experts Research Profile


MD , McGill University , 1988
MPH , Johns Hopkins University


My research interests center around the clinical and epidemiological aspects of vaccine preventable bacterial and viral infections of children. My primary research focuses on nasopharyngeal colonization, disease rates, serotype distribution and vaccine effects of Streptococcus pneumoniae both domestically and internationally, including the evaluation and introduction of pneumococcal vaccines in the developing world. In addition to my focus on pneumococcal disease control, is an interest in the epidemiology and control efforts through vaccines, biologics and risk factor reduction for acute lower respiratory infections, RSV, influenza, group A Streptococcus and group B Streptococcus as well as judicious antimicrobial use and general issues of neonatal sepsis.

My work has been mostly in the area of conducting large phase III IND trials of novel vaccines to control the above mentioned diseases, as well as phase IV studies of vaccine impact.  I also work on modeling of global burden of disease for these pathogens, strategic analyses that move research findings into the policy arena on the optimal use of vaccines, and more basic epidemiologic work on the role of pathogen factors in the development of disease.  I serve as the Associate Director of the Center for American Indian Health, the Deputy Director of the International Vaccine Access Center and previously I served as the Deputy Director for the PneumoADIP.  


Honors and Awards

2011:  President's Early Career Award for Science and Engineering. 2008: Sabin Vaccine Institute, Young Investigator Award. 2003: Nominee, Outstanding Scientific Contribution to Public Health Award, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2001: CDC, Honor Award for outstanding scientific contributions to public health, Group B Streptococcal Prevention Team 1999: CDC, 1999 Nakano Citation, for the Haiti diethylene glycol poisoning investigation. 1998: Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award, Department of Health and Human Services 1997: CDC Mackel Award epidemic investigation which best combines epidemiology and laboratory work. 1997: CDC Group Honor Award for The Haiti Emergency Response Team 1997: Food and Drug Administration Group Recognition Award.For meritorious service in the investigation of an international public health crisis which was associated with the contamination of pharmaceuticals by diethylene glycol.

pneumococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, clinical trials, American Indian, vaccines, RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, Hib, Haemophilus influenzae, pediatric infectious disease, child survival

    1. Mehtälä J, Antonio M, Kaltoft MS, O’Brien KL, Auranen K.  Between-strain competition in acquisition and clearance of pneumococcal colonization--analysis of three longitudinal studies accounting for imperfect detection of multiple colonization. Am J Epi.  In Press

    2. Grant LR, Gentsch JR, Vinjé J, Watt JP, Reid R, Weatherholtz RC, Santosham M, Parashar UD, O’Brien KL.  Epidemiologic and clinical features of enteric viruses associated with acute gastroenteritis among Navajo and White Mountain Apache infants. J Pediatr. In Press

    3. Salter SJ, Hinds J Gould KA, Lambertsen L, Hanage WP, Antonio M, Turner P, Hermans PW, Bootsma H, O'Brien KL, Bentley SD.   Variation at the capsule locus, cps, of encapsulated non-typeable and non-encapsulated Streptococcus pneumoniae.  Microbiology 2012 Mar 8. [Epub ahead of print]

    4. Levine OS,  Bhat N, Crawley J, Deloria-Knoll M, DeLuca AN, Driscoll AJ, Feikin DR, Karron RA, Murdoch DR, O’Brien KL, Scott JAG. Introduction (to PERCH Supplement).  Clin Infect Dis 2012;54(S2):S87-8.

    5. Levine OS,  O’Brien KL, Knoll M, Murdoch DR, Feikin DR, DeLuca AN, Driscoll AJ, Baggett HC, Brooks A, Howie SRC, Kotloff KL, Madhi SA, Maloney SA, Sow S, Thea DW, Scott JAG. The Pneumonia Etiology Research for Child Health Project: a 21st century childhood pneumonia etiology study.  Clin Infect Dis 2012;54(S2):S93-101.

  • PCV13 Impact Study