October 1, 2020 | How Will It End: The Promise of a COVID-19 Vaccine

Recent scientific developments may put us closer to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about research efforts at Northwest research sites, and hear from experts about the potential for vaccine success, vaccine acceptance and how our current global pandemic may end.


Dave Miller is the host of Oregon Public Broadcasting’s daily talk show, “Think Out Loud.” Before coming to OPB, Dave was the senior producer of “Open Source,” a nationally syndicated radio show based at the NPR affiliate station WGBH in Boston. He began his radio career as a documentary producer at Sound Portraits Productions and StoryCorps. From 2008 to 2011, he worked as the online host of the show. His stories have aired on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Morning Edition” and “Weekend Edition Saturday.” Dave graduated from Harvard University with a degree in English.


Jacob Estes, Ph.D., is an immunology researcher who studies animal models to better understand how infectious pathogens interact with the humans they infect and cause disease. In particular, he uses nonhuman primate models to evaluate treatments and vaccines against infectious diseases, especially HIV and TB. He has led OHSU’s contributions to two recent scientific papers about the novel coronavirus. The first paper, published May 20 in Science, found nonhuman primates infected with the coronavirus produce neutralizing antibodies, which can help fight off a future infection. The second paper was published Sept. 3 in Nature Medicine and showed a COVID-19 vaccine candidate can prevent severe disease in hamsters, which marked the first time a potential vaccine was shown to protect against severe disease. Estes holds a Ph.D. in immunology and HIV pathogenesis from Brigham Young University. Before joining OHSU in 2017, he worked at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research’s AIDS and Cancer Virus Program and, prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow studying the immunology and pathology of HIV at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Estes is an adjunct professor in the School of Health and Biomedical Sciences in the College of Science, Engineering and Health at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, and an honorary professor of immunopathology in the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark.

Dr. Corey Casper, M.D., MPH, oversees a scientific portfolio of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics at IDRI that together provide comprehensive solutions to global health problems. Prior to coming to IDRI, Dr. Casper had a long career at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center as Full Member, Associate Cancer Center Director and Founding Head of Global Oncology. In addition to his executive leadership and research activities, Dr. Casper is a committed educator and clinician. He holds an appointment as Professor of Medicine and Global Health at the University of Washington, where he is also the Associate Director of the Center for AIDS Research. Dr. Casper cares for patients with infectious complications of cancer at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington Medical Center. Dr. Casper received his medical degree from Cornell University, completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of California – San Francisco, and a fellowship in Infectious Disease at the University of Washington, where he also earned a Master of Public Health.

Lucy Savitz, PhD, MBA, is a health services researcher with extensive experience translating scientific findings into clinical practice. As director of the Center for Health Research, she oversees the work of about 35 investigators and 255 staff members at CHR’s offices in Portland, Oregon. Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente in 2017, Dr. Savitz served as assistant vice president for delivery system science in the Intermountain Healthcare Institute for Healthcare Delivery Research, where she was responsible for facilitating mission-critical health services research and enhancing the scientific stature of clinical investigators. She was also a research professor in epidemiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine as well as adjunct associate professor of nursing, pediatrics, and family & preventive medicine. Nationally, Dr. Savitz serves on the Methods Council, Delivery System Science Fellowship Program Committee, and chairs the Committee for Advocacy in Public Policy at Academy Health. In 2018, she was elected to a two-year term (2019–21) as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Health Care Systems Research Network.

Dr. Savitz earned her PhD in health policy and administration with a minor in medical geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her MBA and Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Denver.


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