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  1. Science & Research (Biologics)

About CBER Research

CBER’s Research Vision

Doctor's hand touching virtual screen with DNA molecules

CBER conducts scientific research of the highest quality and relevance. CBER performs research that is integral to the Center's regulatory mission and public health portfolio; that is proactive and anticipates regulatory issues and public health needs; and that directly supports CBER's regulatory decision-making and policy development responsibilities.

CBER’s Research Facilities

CBER is located on FDA’s White Oak Campus in Silver Spring, MD, just outside of Washington, DC. CBER enjoy outstanding laboratory facilities, comprising about 450,000 square feet with over 150 laboratories that range from BSL-1 to BSL-3 containment capacities. Facilities include many specialized laboratories and instrumentation, a state-of-the-art vivarium, and major research core services.

CBER Research Funding

The majority of CBER’s funding is intramural and comes from annual federal appropriations. CBER scientists also attract external funding from external sources such as broader FDA programs, NIH (as collaborators), CDC, the Department of Defense, and non-profit organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Meet the Associate Director for Science

Karen Elkins, Ph.D
Karen Elkins, Ph.D, Associate Director of Science

Dr. Karen Elkins serves as the Associate Director for Science (ADS) for CBER, leading CBER’s Science Staff as well as a research group in CBER’s Office of Vaccines Research and Review. As ADS, she is responsible for strategy, coordination, and communication of CBER research and scientific issues. Dr. Elkins received a B.A. in Chemistry from Wake Forest University, a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Duke University, and a M.A. in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Following postdoctoral training at USUHS and NIAID/NIH, Dr. Elkins established an independent lab at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and then moved her lab to CBER.

The Elkins lab studies the nature of protective immunity and vaccination against intracellular bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Francisella tularensis, in order to develop correlates of immunity that predict successful vaccination. The author of over 100 peer-reviewed research publications, Dr. Elkins holds an appointment in the Senior Biomedical Research and Biomedical Product Assessment Service (SBRBPAS). Similar to CBER researcher-reviewers, other professional activities include roles as editor and reviewer for scientific journals; reviewing research grants for various organizations; serving as an officer in professional societies and scientific interest groups; and teaching in area universities.


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