Emerging genetic diversity among SARS-CoV-2 viruses during the 2020 pandemic
Dr. Bette Korber is a Laboratory Fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group. Her work focuses on viral evolution, the human immune response to infection, and vaccine design. She leads an interdisciplinary team that provides bioinformatics, theoretical, and statistical support in collaborative efforts with experimental researchers, working primarily on HIV, but also on ebolavirus, hepatitis C, and influenza. Like so many, she recently began to work on coronaviruses in response to the global pandemic. Some highlights from of her work include vaccine designs to cope with viral diversity, characterizing the evolution of HIV under immune pressure during infection, and developing sequence-based signature analyses methods that include phylogenetic corrections to compensate for founder effects. Her mosaic HIV vaccine design is currently being evaluated in a Phase 2b human clinical trial called Imbokodo, due to be completed in 2021. Some of her awards and honors include: the E.O. Lawrence Award, the Dept. of Energy’s highest scientific honor (2004); the Secretary of the Dept. of Energy Award for her work on the Ebola Task Force (2017); the Richard P. Feynman Innovation Prize (2018); and R&D 100 Scientist of the Year (2018).