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Center for Immunization Research

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Ruth KarronRuth Karron, MD

Dr. Karron is a Professor in the Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Director of the Center for Immunization Research and of the Johns Hopkins Vaccine Initiative (JHVI). Dr. Karron is a pediatrician, trained in infectious diseases, who has extensive experience in the evaluation of respiratory virus vaccines (including vaccines for respiratory syncytial virus, parainfluenza viruses, and avian influenza) in adult and pediatric populations. Her other interests include the epidemiology of respiratory virus infections in resource-poor settings and public policy issues related to vaccine development and distribution. She has served on a number of national and international committees and advisory boards, and chaired the FDA Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee from 2006-2008.

Anna DurbinAnna Durbin, MD
Associate Professor

Dr. Durbin is an Associate Professor in the department of International Health. She is trained in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Durbin has expertise in the evaluation of live attenuated flavivirus vaccines, primary dengue and West Nile virus vaccines, and the early evaluation of malaria vaccines. She has served on national and international advisory boards and committees related to dengue and malaria vaccine safety. An important research interest of hers is studying the immunopathogenesis of dengue infection and disease. In addition to her clinical studies, her laboratory is also developing an animal model of dengue using rhesus macaques.

Kawsar Talaat, MD
Associate Scientist

Kawsar Talaat

Dr. Talaat has experience in clinical and basic research investigating the impact of coinfections. She joined the faculty at the Center for  Immunization Research in July 2007. The Principal Investigator and lead site of a large Phase II study evaluating an inactivated H1N1 pandemic influenza vaccine, she has also been involved in evaluating the safety and immunogenicity of live attenuated influenza vaccine candidates targeting strains with pandemic potential. An Infectious Disease physician, she also has interest in tropical medicine and international health and is working with Dr. Durbin on the evaluation of malaria vaccines.


A. Louis Bourgeois, PhD, MPHBourgeois headshotBourgeois headshot
Senior Scientist

Dr. Bourgeois has enjoyed a 40 year career in infectious disease research and vaccine development.  He holds a BS in Animal Science from Rutgers University (1971); a PhD in Microbiology from Georgetown University School of Medicine (1975) and an MPH from Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health (1988).  Upon graduation from Georgetown University, Dr. Bourgeois served as a Navy microbiologist in the Military Infectious Disease Research Program (MIDRP) for 26 years, during which time his research focused on the epidemiology, prevention, and control of rickettsial infections and bacterial enteric diseases. During his last 12 years in the Navy, Dr. Bourgeois served as the Executive Officer of the Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 in Cairo, Egypt (NAMRU-3) and then as the Head of the Navy’s Enteric Disease Research Program. During this time, he directed efforts that lead to the first human clinical trials of a prototype oral, inactivated campylobacter whole cell vaccine, adjuvanted with a genetically attenuated form of the heat-labile enterotoxin of E. coli; and he also worked with NAMRU-3, NICHD, NIH and the Egyptian Ministry of Health to develop an enteric disease field site in Egypt that was ultimately used for the first efficacy trial of a prototype ETEC vaccine in young children and infants living in an ETEC endemic area. Upon retirement from the Navy in 1999, Dr. Bourgeois joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH) as an Associate Research Professor in the Center for Immunization Research (CIR), Department of International Health. While in the CIR, he served a principal and associate investigator on a number of trials designed to evaluate the safety, immunogenicity, and protective efficacy of candidate ETEC and Shigella vaccines in human subjects. He left JHBSPH in 2007 to join the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health’s (PATH) new Enteric Vaccine Initiative (EVI), where he served as the ETEC Science Officer until the spring of 2015.  While at PATH, he worked to accelerate the clinical development of several promising cellular and subunit vaccines candidates for ETEC, as well as helped coordinate the develop of new mucosal adjuvants to improve the mucosal immunogenicity of enteric vaccines.  Working with JHBSPH, he helped refine the human ETEC challenge model to make it a better tool in ETEC vaccine development and helped facilitate the application of new “omics” technologies to ETEC vaccine antigen discovery and immune profiling. Since returning to JHBSPH, Dr Bourgeois is now a Senior Scientist in the CIR, Global Disease Epidemiology and Control Program of the Department of International Health and he is continuing his work on ETEC and Shigella vaccine development. Dr. Bourgeois has published over 90 research articles and given over 60 presentations regarding his research on enteric diseases and vaccine development. In addition, he has held investigator IND’s for 7 experimental enteric vaccines, mucosal adjuvants and passive preventive interventions for bacterial diarrheal diseases and enteric fever.

Bhavin Thumar, MS
Research AssociateThumarB_2.jpg

Mr. Thumar's primary responsibility is to develop new laboratory assays to assess the systemic, mucosal and cellular immunogenic responses to the variety of experimental vaccines tested at the CIR. He has developed serologic assays for immune responses against influenza viruses, Q fever, canary pox-rabies, vaccinia-HIVgp160 recombinant viruses, and RSV. Currently, Mr. Thumar is developing assays for use in avian recombinant influenza, parainfluenza type III and dengue vaccine trials. He also coordinates all functions of the CIR laboratories, including screening volunteers for antibody, virus cultures, and serological assays, as well as preparing vaccines for administration.

Beulah Sabundayo, PharmD, MPH
Research AssociateSabunday0B 092009.jpb

Dr. Sabundayo joined the faculty of the Center for Immunization Research in July 2008, serving as manager of pharmaceutical services for multiple vaccine protocols and quality manager for CIR policy, procedures and guidelines. She initially joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University in 1998, where she has served as co-investigator and program manager for multiple HIV/AIDS studies and HIV/HCV co-infection studies with a focus in patient and provider education as well as adherence to complex therapies. She founded the HIV Pharmacotherapy Clinic in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Moore Clinic in 2002 where she continues her clinical responsibility as a clinical pharmacist.

Karen Charron, BSN, RN, MPH, CCRC

Associate Lecturer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


Karen Charron is an Instructor on the faculty of the Global Disease Epidemiology and Control program in the Department of International Health where she coordinates the Master in Health Science Program. She has served as co-investigator for numerous Phase I/II adult and pediatric vaccine trials of hepatitis B vaccines, preventive and therapeutic HIV vaccines, respiratory syncytial virus vaccines, rotavirus vaccines, and influenza virus vaccines. Since 2001, Ms. Charron has directed an international training program in vaccine trial conduct and Good Clinical Practice (GCP) in multiple developing country settings.  She created an eight-week online course, Clinical Vaccine Trials and Good Clinical Practice, in 2000, through which she has trained over 700 professionals. Additionally, she is a consultant to International AIDS Vaccine Initiative for several educational and training projects.