The Leadership and Members of the Program in Vaccine Education (PVE) are experts in vaccine research and development, safety, acceptability and hesitancy, policy and education.


Lawrence Stanberry, Co-Director

Lawrence Stanberry, MD, PhD is Professor of Pediatrics, Associate Dean for International Programs and Director of the Programs in Global Health. Dr. Stanberry received his  MD (James Scholar) and PhD (Pharmacology) degrees from the University of Illinois in Chicago. His postgraduate medical training was in Pediatrics, Infectious Diseases and Virology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He spent a sabbatical year at SmithKline Beecham Biologicals, Rixensart, Belgium working on the development of therapeutic vaccine for persistent viral infections and cancer. From 2008 to 2018 he was the Reuben S. Carpentier Professor and Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at VP&S. From 2000 to 2008, he was the John Sealy Distinguished Professor and Chairman of Pediatrics and Director of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Prior to joining the faculty in Galveston, he was the Albert B. Sabin Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center and University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.   

Dr. Stanberry is an authority on vaccine development and viral diseases. He has served on numerous advisory and review panels including serving as the chair of the Vaccine Study Section and the Pediatrics Review Panel at the National Institutes of Health. He has received research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, numerous vaccine, pharmaceutical and biotech companies, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. His areas of research include the development of antiviral drugs, topical microbicides, prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines and basic studies of the pathogenesis and immunobiology of herpes simplex virus. His vaccine research has ranged from preclinical animal model studies through phase 3 multinational clinical trials. He has participated in four first-in-human vaccine trials. His laboratory provided the first experimental evidence to support the concept of vaccine immunotherapy for the treatment of persistent viral infections. Dr. Stanberry was one of the lead researchers on the GlaxoSmithKline herpes simplex virus vaccine trials. These trials produced the first scientific evidence that a vaccine could protect humans against genital herpes infection. An unexpected finding of these trials was that the vaccine was effective only in women. This was the first demonstration of gender-specific vaccine protection. Dr. Stanberry has authored over 200 scientific articles and chapters. He is the author of a book for the general public entitled, “Understanding Herpes” University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi (1st edition 1998, 2nd edition 2006). He is the editor or co-editor of 5 textbooks including: “Genital and Neonatal Herpes” John Wiley and Sons, Ltd, London (1996), “Sexually Transmitted Diseases: Vaccines, Prevention, and Control” Academic Press, Ltd., London (1st edition 2000, 2nd edition 2012), “Vaccines for Biodefense and Emerging and Neglected Diseases, London, Elsevier (2009). “Understanding Modern Vaccines” Elsevier (2011) and “Viral Infections of Humans: Epidemiology and Control,” (5th edition 2014, 6th edition anticipated 2021). 


Philip LaRussa, Co-Director

Dr. Philip LaRussa, MD is a pediatric infectious disease specialist with four decades of experience in clinical and epidemiological infectious diseases research in local and global settings. He received an MD degree from the Università degli Studì in Bologna, Italy in 1978, completed residency training in Pediatrics (1978-1981), and a fellowship training in pediatric Infectious diseases (1981-1981) at New York University-Bellevue Hospital Medical Center, New York. He was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, in New York from 1983-1986. From 2000-2019, he was Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, and emeritus Professor of Pediatrics since 2019.  

His research interests include the pathogenesis, immune response, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of varicella zoster virus infections in children. He developed the first PCR assay to distinguish varicella vaccine virus from wild-type strain, which allowed the accurate differentiation of adverse events due to the vaccine from complications of wild-type infection, and described the effectiveness of varicella vaccine in healthy and immunocompromised hosts. He also described important co-factors influencing the perinatal transmission of HIV and outcomes of perinatally infected infants. He was the principal investigator for the Women and Infants Transmission Study (WITS IV: 2001-2007), and of the NIH-funded International Maternal Pediatric Adolescent Clinical Trials site at Columbia University Medical Center and director of its the on-site retrovirus study laboratory from 2006-2013. Since 2001, his research has focused on immunization safety issues, and has been the Principal Investigator for the CDC-funded Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Center at Columbia University Medical Center. During the last ten years he has also focused on capacity assessment and capacity building research projects in sub-Saharan Africa, and has recently completed a study of 24 hospitals that care for children in sub-Saharan Africa. 

He has been a member of numerous national and international advisory committees including the Brighton Collaboration Working Group for development of case definitions for smallpox vaccine associated adverse events (2003-2005), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Subcommittee on varicella vaccination (2004-2006), the F.D.A. Advisory Committee on Vaccines & Related Biological Products (2004 – 2008), Chair of the NIH NIAID Influenza Research Collaboration (NIRC) Combination Therapy Focus Group (2009 – 2010), Member, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, National Vaccine Advisory Committee [NVAC] (2011 – 2015), Co-chair, U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, National Vaccine Advisory Committee (NVAC) Global Immunization Working Group (2012-2014), Member, W.H.O. Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization Working Group on Varicella & Zoster vaccines (2012 – 2014), and Member, F.D.A., Pediatric Advisory Committee (2012 – 2016). He is the author of 164 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and 28 chapters in textbooks.


Wilmot James, Associate Director

Wilmot James, PhD is Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP). He received his PhD (Sociology and African History) from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Dr. James was a post-doctoral fellow of the Southern African Research Program at Yale University, the American Bar Foundation in Chicago and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College. Dr. James pursued his interest in science and society (James, Nature’s Gifts: Why we are the way we are, WITS University Press, 2010) as a visiting fellow at the Economic and Social Research Council at the University of Edinburgh and as the Gordon Moore Visiting Professor in the Humanities at the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. James is a policy specialist. He joined the University of Cape Town in 1986 as a member of the academic faculty in sociology, and became department chair in 1992. His research on labor migration (James, Our Precious Metal: African Labour in South Africa’s Gold Industry, Indiana University Press, 1992) led to his appointment as chairman of the task team that designed the first post-apartheid refugee protection and immigration policies under President Nelson Mandela. As a Member of Parliament and opposition spokesman on health and, given Africa’s disease burden and infectious disease outbreak patterns, Dr. James developed an enduring interest in global health security policy formulation and practice. He authored and edited twenty books and policy monographs, forty plus journal articles and book chapters and over 200 opinion/education articles. He is a contributing author to and editor of Vital Signs: Health Security in South Africa (Brenthurst Foundation, 2020). His greatest honor was to serve as a co-editor of the late President Nelson Mandela’s presidential speeches published as Nelson Mandela In His Own Words (Little Brown and Co, 2003). 

As Trustee of the Ford Foundation and Chairman of its Education, Media, Arts and Culture (EMAC) committee, Dr. James oversaw the introduction of a $320 million International Fellowship Program, the largest single program investment the Foundation ever made. Over 4,300 students graduated with masters level degrees worldwide with support from the Foundation.  

Dr. James current research interests are in global health security with a particular interest in the welfare of children. He also serves as a senior consultant to the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) and is an honorary professor of public health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. 


Marc Grodman, Special Advisor

Marc Grodman, MD is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at VP&S and Member of the CUIMC Board of Advisors.  He is a graduate of Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, completed residency in Internal Medicine at Mt Sinai in New York and was a Primary Care Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.  

Dr. Grodman is the co-Founder and currently CEO of Genosity Inc, a life science biotechnology company that provides novel software and technical solutions to enable its strategic partners to realize the value of precision medicine.  He previously founded BioReference Laboratories in 1986 which became the third largest commercial laboratory in the U.S. with annual revenues approaching $1B; served for almost 30 years as its CEO (BRLI-Nasdaq-NMS), created specialty business units, Genpath and GenPath Oncology, focusing on Women’s Health and Oncology respectively. Acquired GeneDx in 2005 and turned it and other sequencing services at BioReference to almost $200M in revenue across multiple clinical areas while establishing GeneDx as world-leader in clinical genomic testing for rare and ultra-rare disorders and the first clinical lab to offer Next-Gen Sequencing based tests.  

He served as Chair, Vice Chair and Board Member of the American Clinical Laboratory Association, leading efforts to address issues, such as the challenging reimbursement environment, FDA and CMS regulations, guidelines for testing, competitive bidding, PAMA, patient copay and associated changes with regard to passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He has also served as Board Member and Chair of Patient Safety and Quality Task Force of the Health Care Leadership Council.  

Dr. Grodman has been on staff at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons since 1983, made teaching rounds for over 25 years and has created and endowed new programs in alternative career tracks for medical students. 


Anne A. Gershon, MD
Anne Gershon, M.D., has been professor of pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons since 1986, conducting research on epidemiology, diagnosis, immunology, latency, prevention and treatment of varicella and zoster. Her studies on the safety and efficacy of the varicella vaccine were critical to the vaccine’s licensure in the U.S. A member of several significant committees—including the Committee on Infectious Diseases of the American Academy of Pediatrics ("Red Book" Committee) and the Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control—Gershon served as president of Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2008-9. The  author of more than 350 publications and editor of 14 books, she has received many professional awards, including the Scientific Achievement Award of the Varicella-Zoster Research Foundation. She received an honorary degree from Smith in 1993.  She will be the recipient of a Smith College Medal in February, 2021.


Susan L. Rosenthal, PhD
Dr. Rosenthal is a Professor of Medical Psychology (in Pediatrics and Psychiatry) and Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University. She has been studying vaccine acceptability for over 25 years with a focus on vaccines for sexually transmitted infections and emerging pathogens and those with adolescents as a target population. While at the University of Texas Medical Branch, she was an inaugural member of the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development.  She has consulted to the NIH and industry about the enrollment of adolescents in clinical trials, which led to her most recent R01 (R01 HD067287) focused on adolescent and parent attitudes towards research participation and willingness to participate in reproductive health clinical trials. Dr. Rosenthal has held leadership positions in the American Psychological Association, Society of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, Society of Adolescent Medicine, and North American Society of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. She was selected for the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program (2005-2006) and the Society for Adolescent Medicine Iris F. Litt Visiting Professorship in Adolescent Health Research (2006).


Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, FAAP
Melissa Stockwell, MD MPH is the Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Health and a tenured Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Population and Family Health in the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Department of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health. She is also the founding director of the Department of Pediatric’s Center for Children’s Digital Health Research. She is Medical Director of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Immunization Registry (EzVac) and Co-Director of the Columbia University Primary Care Clinician Research Fellowship in Community Health. Additionally, she is a pediatrician in a NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital-associated community clinic, and is Associate Director of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Pediatric Research in Office Settings (PROS) practice-based research network. Dr. Stockwell is dual board certified in Pediatrics and Clinical Informatics. She serves on the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Immunization Improvement Team and is a regular collaborator with members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) including and work closely with CDC as part of their Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) network. Her research program, which concentrates on underserved children and adolescents, focuses on translational interventions to improve vaccinations, with an emphasis on health technology and health literacy. Throughout her career, she has had continuous research support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and/or the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA).