Dr. Maria Elena Bottazzi, associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has been selected by the National Academy of Medicine as one of 10 Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Scholars. The three-year recognition is given to early- to mid-career professionals from a wide range of health-related fields.

The scholars will be an essential part of the Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine Program, a National Academy of Medicine initiative that provides a platform for a new generation of leaders to collaborate with the Academy and its members across generations and fields of expertise to advance science, combat persistent challenges in health and medicine and spark transformative change to improve health for all.

“As a National Academy of Medicine scholar, I am honored and excited to be able to collaborate and expand my knowledge and outreach addressing important global health topics to help shape the future of health and medicine,” said Bottazzi, who also serves as professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

The scholars are selected by Academy leadership to engage in a variety of activities throughout the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine over a three-year term, beginning July 1, 2019, for this new class. Activities include biannual meetings in Washington, D.C., with Academy leadership, planning an annual Emerging Leaders Forum, participating in National Academies convening activities, publishing Academy perspectives and attending the Academy’s annual meeting each October.

“Selected to the National Academy of Medicine’s Emerging Leaders in Health and Medicine program for their leadership qualities, these extraordinary individuals represent the next generation of leading scientists, healthcare providers, public health professionals and policymakers, who are poised to shape the future of science, medicine and health equity,” said National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau. “I welcome these exceptional professionals into our network of young leaders and look forward to their valuable input to accelerate innovative and cross-disciplinary activities addressing some of the most pressing challenges in health and medicine.”

Bottazzi is an internationally-recognized vaccinologist and global health advocate. She has more than two decades of experience in applying a product development partnership model to build sustainable global biotechnology capacity and training programs that have successfully transitioned neglected tropical disease vaccines from bench to clinic. As a global thought leader, she has received national and international recognitions, has more than 120 scientific papers and has participated in more than 200 conferences worldwide. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine, the Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement (Infectious Diseases) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum. Currently, she also is a committee member to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the Stronger Food and Drug Regulatory Systems Abroad consensus study. Bottazzi has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and clinical chemistry from the National Autonomous University in Honduras, and a doctorate in molecular immunology and experimental pathology from the University of Florida. Her postdoctoral training in cellular biology was completed at University of Miami and Pennsylvania.

The National Academy of Medicine, established in 1970 as the Institute of Medicine, is an independent organization of eminent professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community. Through its domestic and global initiatives, the Academy works to address critical issues in health, medicine, and related policy and inspire positive action across sectors. The National Academy of Medicine collaborates closely with its peer academies and other divisions within the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.