Sarah Gilbert Keynote Speaker
- Saïd Professor of Vaccinology, University of Oxford, who led the development of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19
- Recipient of prestigious Albert Medal (RSA), the Spanish Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research and was awarded a DBE in 2021 for services to Science and Public Health.
- Co-Author of Sunday Times bestseller, 'Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus'
Sarah Gilbert's Biography
Dame Sarah Gilbert DBE is the Saïd Professor of Vaccinology at the University of Oxford who led the development of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. She speaks about her experiences of working to develop the vaccine in a race against the virus, and shares fascinating stories of hard work and cutting edge science.
Sarah and her team of vaccinologists at Oxford University were quick to act in early 2020 when news emerged of the Covid-19 virus. Their rapid action played a crucial role in the pandemic recovery worldwide, and saved millions of lives. Just two weeks from learning about the new pathogen emerging from China in early 2020, Sarah and her team had designed a novel vaccine, modelled on their recent work on the Mers-Middle East respiratory syndrome virus in Saudi Arabia. By March 2020, they had been awarded £22 million funding from the UK Government and were beginning human trials.
The achievements of Sarah and her team, to quickly develop a safe and successful and vaccine that is easy to store and distribute as it doesn’t require freezing, have been widely praised. The Oxford vaccine operates on a not-for-profit basis, which makes the drive and sheer determination shown by Sarah and her team all the more admirable.
Sarah has received several awards for her work, including the prestigious Albert Medal (Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, RSA) in 2021 for her contribution to “a global common good”. She received Spain’s Princess of Asturias Award for Technical & Scientific Research 2021 and has been shortlisted for Veuve Clicquot’s Bold Woman Award. In 2021, Sarah was made a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) for services to Science and Public Health.
Sarah Gilbert is the co-author of Sunday Times bestseller ‘Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus’, alongside colleague Catherine Green. They share the inside story of fighting a pandemic as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Sarah has worked as a Professor at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford, since 2010 and is widely admired as a leading vaccinologist. Since being in this role, she has set up and led a research group dedicated to developing a universal flu vaccine, she led the first trial of an Ebola vaccine and worked in Saudi Arabia on developing the Mers-Middle East respiratory syndrome – virus vaccine.
Prior to this, Sarah was a Reader in Vaccinology at Oxford University, where she focussed on the genetics of malaria and the development of malaria vaccines.
Sarah completed a PhD in genetics and biochemistry of yeast the University of Hull and worked in a brewing research lab, before moving into the field of human health, working as a Research Scientist at Delta Biotechnology.