The Judy and Peter Blum
Kovler Foundation &
The FNIH Pandemic Response Fund

Never before have we experienced years like the last two. As COVID ravaged populations across the globe, scientists, Researchers and policy leaders went into overdrive working nonstop to get ahead of its deadly trail. Forming cross-organizational teams, they went into high gear, delivering therapeutic and vaccine candidates and addressing populations at greatest risk in record time, faster than ever before in our history. And, while the crisis is still not over, their knowledge, insight and dedication have saved thousands of lives around the world and created an exciting new blueprint for biomedical science in the future.

Who are these quiet leaders and what is their story?

Join us for The Quiet Leaders of COVID: Shaping the Future of Science, moderated by the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Magazine, Susan Goldberg. Meet five individuals whose brilliance and foresight will make an enduring impact on lives this century and the next. Hear what they have to say about actions we need to take now to avoid a health crisis of this magnitude in the future.


Susan Goldberg

Susan Goldberg

Susan Goldberg is Editor in Chief of National Geographic and Editorial Director of National Geographic Partners. As Editorial Director, she leads all journalism across platforms, including digital journalism, magazines, podcasts, maps, newsletters and Instagram. She was named Editorial Director in October 2015 and Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine in April 2014. She is the 10th editor, and first female editor, of the magazine since it was first published in October 1888. Read More

Helen Gayle

Helen Gayle, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Gayle has been president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations, since October 2017. Under her leadership, the Trust has adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region. Read More

Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D

Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D.

Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., is the Senior Vice President and Head of Vaccine Research and Development (VRD) at Pfizer Inc, and a member of Pfizer’s Worldwide Research, Development and Medical leadership team. With over 28 years of pharmaceutical experience in Vaccine R&D. Dr. Jansen leads a fully integrated, global vaccines Research and development organization, with responsibilities ranging from discovery to registration and post-marketing commitments. Read more

H. Clifford Lane, M.D.

H. Clifford Lane, M.D.

H. Clifford Lane, M.D., is Clinical Director and Deputy Director for Clinical Research and Special Projects for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. In this capacity he oversees an array of clinical and Research activities. Read more

Peter Marks

Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D.

Peter Marks received his graduate degree in cell and molecular biology and his medical degree at New York University and completed Internal Medicine residency and Hematology/Medical Oncology training at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He has worked in academic settings teaching and caring for patients and in industry on drug development.  He joined the FDA in 2012 as Deputy Center Director for CBER and became Center Director in January 2016. Read more

Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan was appointed WHO’s first Chief Scientist in March 2019. A paediatrician from India and a globally recognizedResearcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and Research and has worked throughout her career to translate Research into impactful programmes. Dr Swaminathan was Secretary to the Government of India for Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research from 2015 to 2017. In that position, she focused on bringing science and evidence into health policy making, building Research capacity in Indian medical schools and forging south-south partnerships in health sciences. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva. Read more

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