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Nelson Michael, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Center for Infectious Diseases Research, WRAIR

Dr. Nelson Michael is Director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) where he helps lead WRAIR’s COVID-19 response efforts. 

Dr. Michael oversees WRAIR’s research and development of novel coronavirus diagnostics, a vaccine and potential treatments, and monoclonal antibodies (mAbs,) a type of immunotherapy that may treat and help prevent infection. Dr. Michael works extensively with international, academic and industry partners to speed the development of vaccines and therapies and standardize their testing so they can be compared. 

On a typical day, Dr. Michael works with scientists across the public-private space to accelerate the efficient development of safe, effective, and accessible vaccines for COVID-19 as well as monoclonal antibodies, improved diagnostics and therapeutics. WRAIR is developing its own Spike protein ferritin nanoparticle COVID-19 vaccine with a novel adjuvant as well as novel small molecule drugs and monoclonal antibodies in its laboratories.  

In addition to his responsibilities at WRAIR, Dr. Michael is part of the DHHS/DOD Operation Warp Speed (OWS) Vaccine Development Team Advisory Group – the body responsible for accelerated development of a COVID-19 vaccine.  In May, he was named as the OWS Vaccine Development Team Community Engagement lead for all OWS vaccine trials so he will liaise with the interagency (CDC, NIAID, BARDA, DOD, Army), COVID-19 Prevention Network and civil society groups to ensure adherence to normative body guidance for these efforts. Dr. Michael is also on the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) Executive Management Team and a NIH ACTIV Vaccine Working Group member. 

Prior to his current position as the CIDR Director at WRAIR, Dr. Michael served for 29 years in the U.S. Army at WRAIR including 12 years as the Director of the U.S. Military HIV Research Program (MHRP) at WRAIR and 8 months as the WRAIR Deputy Commander. Dr. Michael retired from the U.S. Army on 30 September 2018 at the rank of Colonel. Dr. Michael served on President Obama’s Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (2009-2016) and many scientific advisory groups at the NIH and other HIV research organizations.