Carole Heilman, Ph.D., serves as Director of the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (DMID). DMID supports research to prevent and control diseases caused by virtually all human infectious agents with the exception of HIV, which is covered by the NIAID Division of AIDS. DMID projects include basic biology of human pathogens and their interaction with human hosts as well as translational and clinical research toward the development of new and improved diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines for infectious diseases.
Dr. Heilman provides scientific direction, oversight, and management for an extramural research portfolio that encompasses 300 different organisms. Under Dr. Heilman’s leadership, DMID has built a solid research infrastructure that readily responds to public health challenges and supports the nation’s defense against potential agents of bioterrorism. For example, DMID responded rapidly to the emergence of 2009 H1N1 influenza, providing the first in-depth characterization of the H1N1 pandemic virus. At the same time, Dr. Heilman spearheaded the division’s clinical trials of a vaccine for 2009 H1N1 influenza. Approximately 3,900 volunteer participants were enrolled in these nine clinical trials, which provided safety and efficacy data to inform public health practice and protect the public from a potentially devastating pandemic.
Dr. Heilman earned a Ph.D. in microbiology from Rutgers University. She completed her postdoctoral work in molecular virology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and continued at NCI as a senior staff fellow in molecular oncology. She later moved into health science administration, where she focused on respiratory pathogens, particularly vaccine development.
Dr. Heilman has received numerous awards for scientific management and leadership, including three HHS Secretary’s Awards for Distinguished Service that recognized her efforts on the development of acellular pertussis vaccines, on the development of AIDS vaccines, and on accelerating research and development in biodefense and emerging infectious diseases. In 2010, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Boston University College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and in 2011 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Dr. Heilman serves as an infectious disease expert on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also serves on the scientific board of the Fondation Mérieux’s Advanced Course of Vaccinology and is a lecturer in this highly selective training program for decision makers in vaccinology. Throughout her career, Dr. Heilman has been a pioneer supporting the advancement of women in biomedical careers and serves as a mentor to a number of women both inside and outside NIAID.
Last Updated April 15, 2015