Melanie de Boer, PhD

Dr. de Boer's research interests include the intersection of wildlife diseases, infrastructure development and the re-emergence of infectious diseases; the implementation of the International Health Regulations to detect those pathogens; and the development of advanced epidemiological methods. She serves as the Associate Director for WHO/PAHO collaborating Center for Training in International Health and is co-director for the Public Health Track for Medical Students at UTMB.

SCVD Faculty »


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Located on historic Galveston Island, Texas, the Sealy Center for Vaccine Development (SCVD) was inaugurated in December 2001. With 80+ faculty members from twelve School of Medicine Departments, the center incorporates the expertise of more than 100 cutting-edge research programs currently at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). The faculty and staff of the SCVD strive to create, perfect and promote the most effective and safest disease prevention strategies. In this endeavor, the center carries on the proud tradition of medical research and discovery that has been a hallmark of UTMB since its beginning.

The center fosters the highest quality collaborative and programmatic research and facilitates the translation of laboratory findings to prevention of infectious diseases in the community.

A few examples of diseases, conditions and pathogens for which vaccine research and development are being conducted include:

Infectious Diseases

  • arthropod-borne diseases (including Chikungunya, dengue, rickettsia and West Nile)
  • biodefense and emerging viruses and bacteria (Nipah, Hendra, Junin, Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus and plague (Yersinia pestis))
  • enteric bacteria (such as H. pylori and E. coli)
  • hemorrhagic fevers (such as Argentine hemorrhagic fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Lassa fever, Ebola, Marburg and Rift Valley fever)
  • parasitic diseases (malaria, cutaneous and visceral leishmaniases and Trypanosoma cruzi)
  • respiratory diseases (including anthrax, tuberculosis, influenza, SARS & MERS, human metapneumovirus and respiratory syncytial virus)
  • sexually transmitted diseases and infections (including genital herpes, urogenital pathogenic Escherichia coli urinary tract infections and human papillomavirus)
  • vaccine-preventable diseases (Yellow Fever, Japanese encephalitis virus and Rabies)

Noninfectious Diseases and Conditions

  • addiction conditions (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, methamphetamine and MDMA ("ecstacy"))
  • cancer (breast, head & neck, melanoma and prostate)
  • neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, Dementia resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease))

In addition, our clinical trials group undertakes a variety of phase I, phase II and phase III studies in populations from neonates to senior citizens.

Furthermore, members of the center also examine influences on vaccine acceptance and uptake, and address issues relevant to the development of public policies governing health care. In addition, the center facilitates education and training in vaccinology for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and physicians.