Boston University has named one of the world’s premier experts on infectious diseases as the new director of our National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL).

Nancy J. Sullivan, chief of the Biodefense Research Section at the federal government’s Vaccine Research Center and a founding member of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Pandemic Preparedness Working Group, was appointed the Edward Avedisian Professor of Microbiology and Biology. A cell biologist and viral immunologist by training, Sullivan’s earlier work on Ebola led to the discovery of vaccines and therapies.

More recently, Sullivan has played an integral part in the US response to the pandemic. In just the past year, she coauthored more than a dozen COVID-related research papers, covering topics as diverse as neutralizing variants and vaccination in octogenarians. In 2021, she won three National Institutes of Health Director’s Group Awards for her contributions to the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

At NEIDL, Sullivan now heads one of the few labs in the United States that has Biosafety Level 4 status, permitting researchers to work on the world’s most dangerous diseases and pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, Ebola, and Zika. She succeeds Ronald Corley, a BU professor of microbiology, who has led the lab since 2014.