The list of 50 vaccine “influencers” includes Bill Gates, Microsoft founder; Shari Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India; Robin Robinson, director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Bruce Aylward, who is directing the Ebola response in West Africa for the World Heath Organization.
The honorees were nominated and voted on in an international poll conducted by VaccineNation, a vaccine industry organization.
De Groot is the director of the URI Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed) at the URI Feinstein Providence Campus, where she and her colleagues apply cutting-edge bioinformatics tools to accelerate the development of vaccines for infectious diseases such as H7N9 influenza, HIV and tuberculosis. The institute is also working to develop treatments and therapies for tropical diseases identified as “neglected” by the research community, including Dengue, filariasis and malaria.
De Groot is also the co-founder, chief executive officer and chief scientific officer of Providence-based biotechnology company EpiVax Inc. She joined the URI faculty from Brown University in 2008 and has received more than $27 million in federal funding for her research, which has received national and international recognition for her innovative “genome–to–vaccine” approach.
She attributes her success to the work of her team members, notably Associate Research Professor Lenny Moise and EpiVax co-founder and Chief Information Officer William D. Martin.
“Visionaries might be able to see beyond the horizon, but it takes a crew of capable individuals like Bill, Lenny, and the other scientists at iCubed and EpiVax to sail the ship,” she said.
De Groot has received a number of local and national accolades. In 2003, she was recognized by Women & Infants Hospital as “Woman of the Year in Science” and named one of the “Best and the Brightest” in Science and Technology by Esquire Magazine for her work as scientific founder of the Global Alliance to Immunize Against AIDS. In 2006 she was named “Doctor of the Year” by the Rhode Island Medical Women’s Association. In 2009, she received a lifetime achievement award from Providence Business News at its Business Women Awards. She was named a “Top Doctor” by Rhode Island Monthly in 2010, and in 2013 she received the Smith Medal, an award given to outstanding alumnae of Smith College. She is one of the medical providers and founders of Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic in Providence, where she also serves as volunteer medical director.
The complete list of the most influential people in the vaccine industry can be found by visiting VaccineNation.