In 2020, the world stopped when the deadly novel coronavirus swept the planet. In a matter of weeks, society was brought to a standstill, economies shut down, and families were separated, as we were all confined to our homes. A year later, we find ourselves still confined, with over 100 million cases confirmed worldwide, and over 2.5 million dead from Covid-19.
A successful vaccination programme is the only way out. Only through a combination of cutting-edge science, collective effort, and individual sacrifice, will we be able to see loved ones again, to resume our lives, and to save lives.
Our 2021 Rosalind Franklin Lecturer is Professor Sarah Gilbert, Oxford Project Leader for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, which was approved in the UK in late December and has since contributed to the first-dose vaccination of over 12 million of the most vulnerable people in the country. Her lecture, Racing against the virus, will chart the incredible work undertaken to bring about a life-saving – and hopefully, soon, liberating – vaccine in the space of less than a year, part of an unprecedented global scientific response to the coronavirus challenge.
The Rosalind Franklin Lecture, held to mark International Women’s Day, takes place on Friday 5 March, and will be chaired by Samira Ahmed.
About Professor Sarah Gilbert
Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine (NDM) at the University of Oxford. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of East Anglia and her doctoral degree at the University of Hull. Following four years as a research scientist at the biopharmaceutical company Delta Biotechnology she joined Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005. Her chief research interest is the development of viral-vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses.
She works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including influenza, Nipah, MERS, Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, and SARS-CoV-2. Working with colleagues in the Jenner Institute research labs, the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, all situated on the Old Road Campus in Oxford, she is able to take novel vaccines from design to clinical development, with a particular interest in the rapid transfer of vaccines into manufacturing and first in human trials. She is the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, a promising vaccine against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, which has since been used to vaccinate millions of British adults in the first weeks of the national vaccine rollout.
About Samira Ahmed
Samira Ahmed is a multi-award winning journalist and broadcaster with a special focus on culture, politics, and social change. She won Audio Broadcaster of the Year at the 2020 British Press Guild Awards for her work as a presenter of Front Row on Radio 4 and her podcast How I Found My Voice.
About the Rosalind Franklin Lecture
Marking International Women’s Day, the Rosalind Franklin Lecture explores and celebrates the contribution of women towards the promotion and advancement of aspects of humanism in the UK and around the world. The Rosalind Franklin medallist has made a significant contribution in one of these fields.
The lecture and medal are named after Rosalind Franklin, humanist and scientist, whose contribution to science for many years went unacknowledged on account of her sex but who is today rightly celebrated.
Note: Live captions in English will be available at this online event hosted on Zoom