The National Institutes of Health

Dr. Azza Idris is a physician scientist with extensive training in immunology and pediatric infectious diseases. Her professional interests span discovery science and translational research. Currently, she serves as the head of the Malaria Unit at the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Vaccine Research Center. In this role, she spearheads crucial efforts in the discovery, development, and evaluation of antibodies and vaccines against malaria. Dr. Idris has been instrumental in advancing candidate therapeutics through preclinical trials and her efforts have led to the landmark achievement of conducting the first phase 1 human clinical trial of malaria targeting monoclonal antibodies.

Dr. Idris received her formative education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. She then pursued a dual MD/PhD degree at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. At Mount Sinai, she worked under the guidance of Dr. Wayne Yokoyama which resulted in the genetic mapping and identification of the locus controlling natural killing, termed Chok. This work earned her the prestigious Jeffery Modell Prize for Excellence in Immunology for the best immunology thesis. She then received her post-doctoral training in Dr. Robert Seder’s lab at the NIH, focusing on the development of innovative human monoclonal antibodies capable of providing protection against malaria. Dr. Idris completed her pediatric residency training at Emory University in Atlanta and underwent sub-specialty training in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She holds board certifications in General Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases.

Since 2018, Dr. Idris has been a visiting research affiliate of MIT, actively cultivating collaborative relationships with the labs of Drs. Bhatia (Koch Institute) and Niles (Department of Biological Engineering). Leveraging genetically engineered malaria parasites and cryoelectron microscopy, her research at MIT focuses on unraveling the intricate molecular-level details of antibody recognition of the Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein, a critical target for malaria vaccines.

In her upcoming role as a faculty member in the Division of Global Health at Mass General Hospital for Children, Dr. Idris will provide consultations on the pediatric infectious disease service at MGH while simultaneously establishing her research lab at the esteemed Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard.