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Clements-Mann Fellowship honors visionary AIDS researchers and provides opportunities for vaccine scholarship

Mary Lou Clements-Mann and husband Jonathan Mann

Twenty years later, researchers' legacy provides scholarship support to doctoral students with an interest in vaccine studies. 

Mary Lou Clements-Mann, MD, MPH ’79, professor in International Health, and her husband, Jonathan Mann, MD, MPH, visiting professor of Health, Policy and Management, died in September, 1998 when, en route to Geneva, their Swiss Air Flight 111 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Their untimely death dealt a blow to the early AIDS research community, as the Manns were at the forefront of the worldwide effort to understand the spectrum of illnesses that came to be known as HIV/AIDS.

"Mary Lou's vision and passion for vaccine research led her to found the Center for Immunization Research in 1985, with the goal of facilitating the development of new vaccines for infectious diseases of global importance. Our Center prides itself on collaborative and interdisciplinary vaccine research, and on educating the next generation of vaccine scientists.” —Ruth A. Karron, MD, director of the Center for Immunization Research, Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative

Jonathan Mann founded the World Health Organization's AIDS program and was one of the first scientists to bring the international AIDS crisis to the world's attention. Clements-Mann was an internationally known virologist and AIDS researcher who devoted most of her career to developing and testing vaccines to combat respiratory viruses, AIDS and diarrheal diseases.

“The support our students have received through the Clements-Mann Fellowship Fund in Vaccine Sciences has been a critical factor in their public health education, providing them with extensive opportunities to advance health in their communities and around the world.” —Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, MSc ’75, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Dean

The Clements-Mann Fellowship was established by family members, friends, and colleagues as a tribute to Mary Lou and Jonathan's dedication to vaccine development, research and human rights.

This award is given at the discretion of the department of International Health to PhD applicants who have done previous work in vaccine research.

Clements-Mann Fellowship Alumni

Many alumni awardees of the Clements-Mann Fellowship have gone on to pursue leadership roles in vaccine research. Meet some of our distinguished alums bringing impact to the field of vaccine science.

Jessica AtwellJessica Atwell, PhD ’16, MPH ’11

Atwell is an assistant scientist in International Health, works with both the Center for Immunization Research and the Center for American Indian Health. Prior to earning her PhD in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, Atwell was a microbiologist specializing in molecular characterization of outbreaks of enteric and vaccine-preventable disease. She has expertise in the impact of vaccine hesitancy on pertussis resurgence and has worked with both Gavi and PATH on issues related to new vaccine introduction in low-income countries.

Atwell's current research focus is on respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and maternal immunization. She has worked to understand and address challenges to maternal immunization, both biologic and behavioral, including maternal conditions (e.g., malaria and hypergammaglobulinemia) that may impair transplacental transfer of RSV antibody, the complexities of defining severe RSV disease for clinical trial endpoints, and barriers to uptake of vaccines in pregnancy among American Indian populations in the Southwest. She also studies the epidemiology of RSV and other respiratory viruses among children in tropical and low-resource settings, and the impact of severe respiratory infections in early childhood on lung function and asthma in older children. Atwell and colleagues at the Bloomberg School are currently collaborating on a global efficacy study of a maternal RSV vaccine, the first Phase III clinical trial ever conducted on a vaccine-candidate designed for licensure and use specifically in pregnant women. She is a co-instructor of Vaccine Development and Application with Ruth Karron and Laura Hammitt and serves as program coordinator of the PAVE internship program.

Cunlin Wang 2018Cunlin Wang, MD, PhD ’04

Wang is currently a medical director developing innovative therapy for the treatment of cancer at San Francisco-based biotech company Genentech Inc., part of Roche Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Genentech, Wang was at Virginia Medical College. From 2005 to 2010, Wang was as both faculty and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins University, and from 2006 to 2017, he worked at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a medical epidemiologist before moving into the role of director of the Division of Epidemiology. The Division of Epidemiology leads the agency's active drug safety surveillance initiative and conducts comparative safety studies using real-world data to support the agency's mission of protecting U.S. public health by ensuring the safety and effectiveness of available medications. Wang lives in Ukiah, California, with his wife, Daisy, and daughter, Claire.

Dustin Gibson 2018Dustin Gibson, PhD ’14 

Gibson is an assistant scientist in the Health Systems Program within International Health. Gibson serves as the faculty coordinator for the Bloomberg Philanthropies Data4Health Initiative, which seeks to improve the quality of data and its use by policymakers from low- and middle-income countries. His research interests center on the application and evaluation of mobile health (mHealth) technologies to strengthen health systems and generate demand for health services in lower income countries, with a particular focus on immunization delivery and non-communicable disease surveillance. Through support from the Clements-Mann Fellowship, Gibson lived for two years in Kisumu, Kenya, where he oversaw the implementation of the Mobile-Solutions for Immunization (M-SIMU) randomized controlled trial, which found that providing caregivers text message reminders and small travel subsidies could drastically improve immunization coverage in this rural population. The results were recently published in Lancet Global Health and Gibson has disseminated findings within Kenya and to international agencies such as Gavi. Gibson has the privilege to train next-generation vaccine advocates and is currently advising a doctoral student who is conducting additional follow-up studies on improving vaccination coverage in Kenya. Gibson is based in Baltimore but frequently travels to Bangladesh, Colombia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda for work.

Michelle Hughes 2018Michelle J. M. Hughes, MHS ’09, PhD ’14

Hughes is an Epidemic Intelligence (EIS) Officer at the CDC and a Lieutenant in the United States Public Health Commissioned Corps. Based in the Influenza Division, Hughes's research includes modeling the burden of influenza in the U.S. that is prevented through vaccination. Prior to joining EIS, Hughes served as an epidemiologist at Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago conducting research and evaluating programs to reduce health disparities. She was also an associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, investigating the epidemiology of pertussis in women and their infants in Nepal. Hughes holds a PhD and an MHS in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.