Efraim Racker

Scientist and Artist | June 28, 1913 - September 9, 1991
Photo collage of Efraim Racker

mRNA as Medicine: COVID-19 Vaccine and Beyond

Melissa J. Moore
General lecture
December 1, 2022, 8pm
Biotechnology Building G10

About the speaker

Melissa J. Moore

Chief Scientific Officer, Emeritus, Moderna

Melissa J. Moore, Ph.D. is Chief Scientific Officer, Emeritus, of Moderna. From 2016-2021, she led the early-stage research teams developing Moderna’s platform technologies in mRNA design and delivery. These technologies were foundational for Moderna’s ability to rapidly create a highly effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Since 2021, her main focus has now become communicating the science of mRNA medicines both internally and to the outside world. Dr. Moore is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (2017), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2019), and recipient of the RNA Society Lifetime Achievement Award (2021). Other accolades include being named one of the 100 Fiercest Women in Biotech (2018) and to the PharmaVoice 100 (2019).

Dr. Moore joined Moderna in 2016 from the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS), where she served as Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Eleanor Eustis Farrington Chair in Cancer Research, and a long-time Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Dr. Moore was also a founding Co-Director of the UMMS RNA Therapeutics Institute (RTI). She currently sits on the Board of Directors of Tessera Therapeutics, multiple Scientific Advisory Boards, and has co-founded two companies (Comanche Biopharma and Via Scientific) to further initiatives begun at UMMS.

Dr. Moore holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Biology from the College of William and Mary, and a Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry from MIT, where she specialized in enzymology under Prof. Christopher T. Walsh. She began working on RNA metabolism during her postdoctoral training with Phillip A. Sharp at MIT. During her 23 years as faculty member, first at Brandeis University (1994-2007) and then at UMMS (2007-2016), her research encompassed a broad array of topics related to the roles of RNA and RNA-protein (RNP) complexes in gene expression, and touched on many human diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration and preeclampsia. Her passions include educating the public about the coming age of nucleic acid medicines and increasing Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) at all levels of the biotechnology workforce.