Research Associate

About IVAC: The mission of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is to accelerate global access to life-saving vaccines through the development and implementation of evidence-based policies. The work of IVAC focuses on disease epidemiology, vaccine economics and supply, monitoring and evaluation of vaccine introduction and Center programs, and advocacy and communications activities to increase the profile of and global action on vaccine-preventable disease.

Position Summary:

This position will involve working on three different IVAC projects: Targeted Assessment Study Coordination (TASC) for Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Regional Support for the Asian Development Bank (ADB); and COVID-19 Vaccine Effectiveness Against Variants of Concern for the World Health Organization (WHO).

Working on these projects would provide the successful candidate with remarkable opportunities to work directly with colleagues at WHO, Gavi and the ADB and to contribute to Gavi’s strategic vaccine evaluation process, the vaccine recommendation process made by WHO and their Strategic Advisory Groups of Experts (SAGE) and in the synthesis and communication of the evidence. The successful candidate will be at the forefront of COVID-19 vaccine strategic decision-making and will interact with global technical experts evaluating study designs with respect to quality and interpretation of results. Some of the best global epidemiologists are working on this, and the successful candidate will get to be an important part of this process. This is an especially exciting opportunity for someone interested in strengthening their already strong epidemiological skillset who is also interested in vaccines.

About the TASC project: Gavi funds strategic studies in low- and middle-income settings to fill evidence gaps that would help to inform countries for decision making regarding vaccine introduction or choice of product or administration schedule. Gavi’s current portfolio of evaluations include evaluating the impact of pneumococcal and rotavirus vaccines. The Targeted Assessment Study Coordination (TASC) involves the technical review of the study’s progress and results as well as communication efforts to disseminate findings. The successful candidate would work closely with IVAC experts in epidemiology and communication, Gavi colleagues and study investigators in different international settings to evaluate, synthesize and summarize crucial epidemiological evidence used for global rotavirus and pneumococcal vaccine decision-making. The candidate’s responsibilities include providing technical review and synthesis of study reports, supporting study site teams to suggest and review additional analyses to get a deeper understanding of their data, and to support the site’s efforts in the creation of technical content for communication materials.

About the ADB project: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) project involves an array of efforts to provide regional support to address the COVID-19 pandemic as it pertains to vaccine rollout logistics, target population choice, hesitancy assessment, efficacy, effectiveness, and safety. The successful candidate would contribute to the epidemiological components regarding assessing and summarizing the evidence for safety, efficacy and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines to provide the ADB and country-level stakeholders with information to guide their decision making. With the continued emergence of new evidence over time, this would involve regular updates to the content and presentation materials provided in a format that includes slides, short summaries and database-structured content that feeds into data visualizations on IVAC’s vaccine data visualization web-based tool

About the WHO COVID-19 VOC project: The evidence of the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines against infections with variants of concern comes from an array of data from observational effectiveness studies and efficacy trials. The WHO COVID-19 project involves ongoing literature review and collation of epidemiological evidence on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy/effectiveness for each vaccine against variants of concern for various outcomes of interest (e.g., immunogenicity, asymptomatic infection, severe disease, etc.). The successful candidate would contribute to a team working with the Department of Immunization, Vaccines, and Biologicals at the WHO, to identify, review, collate and summarize evidence and assist with data visualization and writing. These efforts provide content for WHO’s bi-weekly status update presentations and reports and prepares them for semi-weekly press conferences.

Key project team members: These projects involve many IVAC staff and the candidate would work most closely with Maria Deloria Knoll, Naor Bar-Zeev, Melissa Higdon and Kirthini Muralidharan. The WHO project is also well supported by three Hopkins experts in variant strain immunology and genetics.

Position summary:

This is a technically oriented position involving skills in both the qualitative and quantitative evaluation of evidence that is well suited for a recent graduate from a program in Epidemiology with strengths in epidemiological methods interested in policy-relevant research in vaccinology. Organization and writing skills are a must. It will be well supported by experienced applied epidemiologists, statisticians and vaccine policy specialists.

Expected start to end date: May 2021 to May 2022

Responsibilities may include, but will not be limited to:
  • Evaluating study designs, epidemiological biases, and quality issues of published and unpublished evidence on COVID-19 vaccine efficacy, effectiveness and safety, including conducting structured risk of bias evaluations
  • Contributing to quantitative synthesis analysis such as meta-analyses
  • Maintenance of an up-to-date evidence database, including data abstraction
  • Creating figures and plots to visualize data and evidence
  • Summarizing and synthesizing epidemiological information
  • Contributing to reports, presentations and manuscript writing
  • Communicating with stakeholders

Required qualifications, experience, skills:

  • Master’s degree in epidemiology or related field (or anticipated graduation by Summer 2021)
  • Evidence of strong understanding of epidemiological concepts and methods
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Experience managing and analyzing datasets
  • Evidence of quantitative analytical skills
  • Experience outside of coursework using Stata, R, SAS or related statistical package to create graphical displays of data

Preferred qualifications, experience, skills

  • Data visualization skills
  • Experience conducting literature reviews
  • Experience communicating with stakeholders

Remote working is acceptable. Eastern time zone preferred. Salary commensurate with experience and education. Current students with scheduled graduation by Summer 2021 can apply as a student and transition to staff/faculty afterwards.

How to Apply: Please send a cover letter and CV or resume to Melissa Higdon with the subject header “COVID epidemiology position”.