Rachel M. Presti, Md, PhD
DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE
Associate Professor of Medicine
2023 Dean’s Impact Award Recipient
Rachel M. Presti, MD, PhD, was a leader in clinical and translational research during COVID-19. She converted her infectious diseases clinical research unit into a COVID-19 research group, conducting NIH-funded outpatient and inpatient clinical therapeutic trials as part of the ACTIV response, with Washington University being the leading site for enrollment in ACTIV-1. She also led local enrollment in clinical trials of the candidate COVID-19 vaccines and worked very closely with the local community to ensure reenrollment and acceptance in diverse communities. Together with Ali H. Ellebedy, PhD, and Michael Diamond, MD, PhD, she designed and led the translational research that furthered the understanding of the immunopathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and in particular, the nature and durability of the immune response both to natural infection and to vaccine. Their work has led to important publications in Nature, Nature Medicine, Cell and other journals. These papers have been widely recognized as critical in our understanding of immunity to this virus and have been the subject of wide commentary in the scientific and popular press, including a commentary by Francis Collins in his then-regular National Institutes of Health (NIH) director’s blog.