Mark Tompkins is appointed director of UGA Center for Vaccines and Immunology

By Amy H. Carter

Mark Tompkins, Ph.D., UGA Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Virology and Immunology, has been appointed director of the Center for Vaccines and Immunology (CVI) in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Established in 2015, the CVI is made up of a premier team of researchers that are leading the way in basic and translational research in immunology and vaccine development. The center capitalizes on UGA’s world-renowned expertise within the areas of infectious disease, veterinary medicine, ecology, and public health. With UGA’s world-class biocontainment research resources coupled with the expertise of scientists from nearby institutions, CVI investigators can focus on translational studies to test and assess the efficacy of vaccines and immunotherapies in development by industry, governmental and academic institutions.

“We are fortunate to have Mark Tompkins leading an outstanding team of researchers in the CVI,” said Dr. Lisa K. Nolan, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Mark is a respected member of the international research community who brings a wealth of knowledge to our efforts to understand the pathways of disease transmission and develop vaccines that will prevent future outbreaks.”

Mark Tompkins and Pejman Rohani examine a specimen sample. (Photo by Peter Frey)

Tompkins received his doctorate in immunology from Emory University and studied immune mechanisms of autoimmune diseases as a National Multiple Sclerosis Society Postdoctoral Fellow. He later joined the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the FDA where he studied immunity elicited by influenza vaccination.

He joined UGA in 2005 and established a diverse research program including the study of human and zoonotic influenza viruses, emerging viruses, drivers of disease, and development of new vaccines and therapeutics for respiratory disease. Tompkins was later appointed director of the UGA Center for Influenza Disease & Emergence Research (CIDER), a national Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response (CEIRR), funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The CIDER-CEIRR is one of six centers nationwide funded by the National Institutes of Health to advance our understanding of human and animal influenza viruses, as well as the response to infection and vaccination to help prevent seasonal disease and pandemics.

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