Source: News & Observer

Kizzmekia Corbett, a Hillsborough native, never saw a Black scientist before she met Albert Russell at UNC-Chapel Hill one summer. After that experience, she knew it was possible for her. Now, she’s 34 and is the scientific lead at the National Institutes of Health in the search for a coronavirus vaccine.

“It made all the difference, I’m probably here because of that,” Corbett said. “Just knowing that it was possible.”

Corbett briefs the president about potential vaccines, makes television appearances sharing her expert opinion and works on the front lines to help develop a vaccine, according to the News & Observer. 

“I want her to have a seat at that table for all the reasons you are witnessing through the pandemic and all the protesting,” said Dr. Barney Graham. “Not just because she’s competent, but she represents a generation of young people and African-American scientists who need a seat at the table.”

Corbett works under Dr. Graham as a viral immunologist and a research fellow. She is head of basic research and analyzes the data collected in work developing the cure.

“We’re all working 24-7, and we’re hoping that it will make an impact,” Graham said. “And [the vaccine] will be safe and effective and prevent some of this damage that the coronavirus is doing.”

Her hard work is why the News & Observer has named her Tar Heel of the Month.

Read the full story on Kizzmekia Corbett from the News & Observer.