Mary Lou Clements-Mann Memorial Lecture in Vaccine Sciences

The Mary Lou Clements-Mann Memorial Lecture in Vaccine Sciences was initiated at the Second Annual Conference on Vaccine Research in 1999 to honor and remember a prolific, compassionate, and courageous vaccinologist. Dr. Clements-Mann was a professor in the John Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, where she worked since 1985, founding and directing its Center for Immunization Research. Her career in vaccine science began in 1979, when she joined the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine as assistant professor of medicine.

Dr. Clements-Mann was internationally recognized for her clinical research and leadership on viral vaccines of public health importance. Her MEDLINE bibliography includes more than 100 papers indexed to vaccination for influenza (37), HIV (31), cholera (6), hepatitis B (5), respiratory syncytial virus (4), parainfluenza (4), Rocky Mountain spotted fever (4), rotavirus (3), E. coli (3), and typhoid (1).

Raised on a Texas ranch, Mary Lou Clements entered Texas Tech University intending to become a veterinarian, but her interests soon changed to human disease, and upon graduation she attended the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. After completing internship and residency at Temple University in Philadelphia, she obtained a diploma at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in 1975. At that time, the frontlines of public health were in the global program to eradicate smallpox, and she went to India to work for the World Health Organization (WHO) for the final years of vaccination and surveillance. After returning in 1977, she moved to Baltimore to earn her MPH degree at Hopkins.

It was quite early in the AIDS pandemic when Dr. Clements-Mann founded the Center for Immunization Research, but she recognized the threat of this new disease and made it a major focus of her research. In a productive decade since 1985, she became a dominant figure in the multi-center networks established by the National Institutes of Health to conduct phase I and II clinical trials of AIDS vaccines. She also consulted for WHO and the joint United Nations programme on AIDS to help prepare for essential AIDS vaccine trials in developing countries. Her great contributions to these efforts arose from her broad experience testing vaccines for other diseases, and her vision for how to move forward the development process.

In 1996, she married Dr. Jonathan Mann, founder of the Global Programme on AIDS at WHO, an international authority on the pandemic, and an eloquent advocate for human rights and compassion in controlling it. In the final years of their lives, they became increasingly frustrated with impediments to AIDS vaccine development not faced by other vaccines, and began crusading -- despite the risk to her peer-reviewed research grants -- for a reinvented Federal AIDS vaccine effort. This was the theme of Mary Lou Clements-Mann's invited lecture before the First Annual Conference on Vaccine Research on May 30, 1998. On September 2 of that year, the couple perished in the crash of Swissair flight 111 off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada.

Further reading:

  1. Levine MM, Curran J. In Memoriam: HIV vaccines and prevention in a world without Mary Lou Clements-Mann and Jonathan Mann. J Hum Virol 1999;2:58-60.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10200601
  2. Voelker R. Tragic loss of leaders in AIDS and public health. JAMA 1998;280:1037. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9757835
  3. Clements-Mann ML. Lessons for AIDS vaccine development from non-AIDS vaccines. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 1998;14(Suppl3):s197-s203. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9814944
  4. DeNoon DJ. Conference Coverage (1st Annual Vaccine Research): NIH advised to hand over AIDS vaccine leadership. AIDS Weekly 13/20 July 1998. http://www.aegis.org/DisplayContent/DisplayContent.aspx?SectionID=364410
  5.