Maria Deloria Knoll

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Maria Deloria Knoll, PhD, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of epidemiology, disease surveillance, vaccine trial conduct, and bio-statistics. She currently serves as Associate Director of Science at the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), an organization dedicated to accelerating global access to life-saving vaccines, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.


Maria Deloria Knoll completed her undergraduate studies in Biostatistics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland.


Dr. Knoll's research interests include the epidemiology of vaccine-preventable infectious diseases and the methodologic issues pertaining to the design, conduct and analysis of epidemiologic studies and clinical trials. Current projects include the PERCH study to determine the causes of pneumonia in settings representative of developing countries to guide the development of new pneumonia vaccines and treatment algorithms for 2015 onwards, estimating the burden and serotype distribution of pneumococcal and meningococcal disease among children and adults, measuring the impact on disease burden of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine use in Kenya and The Gambia, and evaluating the value of antigen-based diagnostic tests in blood to improve sensitivity of pneumococcal detection in pneumonia patients. Dr. Knoll has over 20 years of experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical trials and epidemiologic studies. She spent 13 years at the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and her clinical trials experience there included close working relationships with many large and mid-sized vaccine manufacturers. Dr. Knoll also served as a Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University’s Department of Preventive Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, where she directed a course on clinical trial design, conduct and analysis in their MPH program, conducted cardiovascular and HIV-related epidemiologic studies using data from established cohorts, and designed therapeutic clinical trials for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. She has written many well cited original articles and is regularly an invited speaker to various international health conferences.

The Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine Introduction Study (PCVIS) in The Gambia and Kenya[edit]

The GAVI Alliance and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are funding two pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV) impact studies in the Gambia and Kenya. In 2006, these projects were identified as critical to GAVI's objectives of generating sustainable PCV introduction. These studies, funded through the Pneumococcal Vaccines Accelerated Development and Introduction Plan (PneumoADIP), a project of IVAC at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), provide the earliest possible opportunity to document the health impact of routine use of PCVs in developing countries.

The objectives of the projects are to define the total reduction in disease burden that can be attributed to PCV introduction in the Gambia and in Kenya. These projects will estimate the change in incidence of vaccine-type invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD), change in incidence of non-vaccine-type IPD, as well as the change in incidence of all radiographically-confirmed pneumonia and all admissions to hospital. The projects will measure the direct effects of immunization in children eligible for vaccination through the routine EPI immunization system, as well as indirect effects in older children and adults. The cost-effectiveness of the vaccine program will also be evaluated.

The Gambian study is a joint effort of the Government of The Gambia and the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK, The Gambia and is coordinated from the MRC Field Station in Basse. Formal disease surveillance commenced in May 2008 in the eastern part of the country, specifically in the south bank of Upper River Region. PCV7 was introduced in August 2009 and replaced with PCV13 in April 2011.

The Kenyan project, funded through the Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, is run by the Kenyan Medical Research Institute (KEMRI)/WELLCOME Trust unit at two study sites, in the Kilifi district on the coast and in the Thika district 40 km north east of Nairobi. PCVIS started in the Kilifi district in March 2008 and in the Thika District in May 2009, although the Kilifi site also has many years of surveillance that pre-dates PCVIS that will contribute to the evaluation of PCV introduction. Introduction of PCV10 began in Kilifi in January 2011 and went nationwide in February 2011.

Overview of PCT Introduction and Surveillance in the Gambia and Kenya

Date of PCV Introduction Aug 2009 Jan 2011
PCV introduction strategy No catch up campaign among ages 12–59 months Catch up campaign among ages 12–59 months
Surveillance method Hospital-based; Outpatients & Inpatients; All ages Hospital-based; Inpatients only; All ages
Population under surveillance 163,000 263,000


  • National Institutes of Health Merit Award (1999,1991)
  • Food and Drug Administration Commissioner’s Special Citation Group Award (1997)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Group Award for Distinguished Service (1996)
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Special Achievement Award (1995,1991)

External links[edit]