Dr. Lisa Morici – Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine
3:30 p.m., Sept. 27, University Hall 134
The discovery and development of vaccines is undoubtedly one of the greatest public health interventions in modern civilization. From the ancient use of variolation to the more recent introduction of messenger RNA vaccines, vaccine science has dramatically improved our ability to combat microbial pathogens. This talk will describe the history of vaccines, highlight recent achievements, and identify remaining challenges, including the prevention of future viral pandemics.
Q&A with Dr. Morici
When did you know that you wanted to be what you are today?
I’ve loved biology since I was a child. My first love was “marine biology” and I attained a M.S. degree in Marine Science from the Univ. of San Diego. Unfortunately, funding for
marine biology was significantly diminished by the time I was ready to pursue a Ph.D. Since I had slowly developed a fascination with infectious diseases and found the perfect PhD program at UC Berkeley, I chose this path instead!
What is one of the most significant achievements or rewarding moments of your career?
I was part of a Tulane team of investigators that flew a scientific payload aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis. We were interested in determining if bacteria were more “pathogenic” in space. We spent months at NASA rehearsing the experiment and were in the VIP section for the actual launch. It was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences of my career and I’m a huge NASA enthusiast now!
What advice do you have for students today who may be trying to figure out what they want to do or who want to pursue a career like yours?
My advice is to explore every door that opens for you because you never know what opportunity may be awaiting you. Science is fun and rewarding because it always changes and presents new and amazing challenges!
What skill have you relied on most frequently?
Patience. It doesn’t come easily to most people or me, and it is certainly a skill that must be honed and developed in science and at all stages of your career.
Was there one person who had the greatest impact on your career?
I had an incredible professor of infectious diseases at Berkeley, Dr. John Swartzberg, who is an accomplished and caring physician and inspiring teacher and mentor. I try to emulate his style in my own lectures and he certainly cemented my love for infectious diseases.
What are two things that people would be surprised to know about you?
1) I was in a sorority in college (Chi Omega) and loved it! 2) I have a 6-year-old son.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing?