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Amie Batson, Ashley Birkett, and Michel Zaffran were recently recognized for their work to develop and advance vaccines for low-resource settings. A list of “the top 50 vaccine influencers,” published by the website Vaccine Nation (1.2 MB PDF), included Dr. Birkett, a PATH malaria researcher, along with representatives from industry, government, philanthropy, and academia.

In response to the “top 50” list, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a list of “unsung vaccine heroes” who have been valuable in “ensuring access to valuable vaccines for children globally.” The list of 34 vaccine leaders published in Impatient Optimists—the Gates Foundation blog—included Amie Batson, PATH’s chief strategy officer, and Michel Zaffran, director of Project Optimize.

From discovering new malaria vaccines to reaching more children with all vaccines

Ashley Birkett is the director of research and development for PATH’s Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI). He leads the process of identifying promising malaria vaccine technologies and creating partnerships with for-profit and nonprofit organizations to pursue vaccine candidates. He also leads MVI’s program to develop a transmission-blocking vaccine, a novel approach that would limit the spread of malaria infection by preventing mosquitoes that feed on an infected person from spreading malaria to new hosts.

Amie Batson was recently appointed as PATH’s chief strategy officer. She brings 20 years of experience in global health to the position, including appointments with the World Bank, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF. Her previous work at the World Bank resulted in billions of dollars in new funding for global health and the vaccination of millions of children against polio, pneumonia, diarrhea, and other vaccine-preventable causes of death.

Michel Zaffran is the director of Project Optimize, a collaboration between PATH and the World Health Organization, and senior advisor to the World Health Organization’s Department of Immunizations, Vaccines, and Biologicals. Zaffran leads a multinational team that aims to identify, develop, and test solutions that will help vaccine supply chains in low-resource settings keep up with a growing portfolio of vaccines.

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Posted March 12, 2013.