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Melinda Moree develops and directs the overall strategy and implementation of The PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative, a focused vaccine development programme created through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before joining PATH, she was Manager of Advanced Research at EKOS Corporation. She has a PhD in medical microbiology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA.
What has been the greatest achievement of your career?
Leading a team with our partners GlaxoSmithKline and Centro de InvestigaÃ§ao em Saude ManhiÃ§a (CISM) in Mozambique to establish the evidence that a vaccine can protect children in Africa from malaria.
Which event has had most effect on your work, and why?
As a college student I visited the Philippines. In a village I met two severely malnourished children who looked at me with eyes completely devoid of hope. As a person on this planet I have a role in creating those situations and I also have a responsibility to see them end. From that moment on I knew that I would work in global health.
Who is your favourite politician and why?
Bill Clinton. Yes he screwed up the last part of his presidency, but he speaks to the heart of people and can inspire like few politicians can.
What is the best piece of advice you have received, and from whom?
From Frank Mallinder: "You are a good problem spotter. Unfortunately what everyone really wants is a problem solver." This advice helped me to hold the criticism, which is the easy part, and to focus on solving the problem.
How do you relax?
I took up surfing when I turned 40. I love trying to stand up on a board that is moving on a wave and trying to learn something that can never be perfected.
Who was your most influential teacher, and why?
Mr Heston Bates, my biology teacher in 11th grade. He started my lifelong fascination with microbes. I will never forget counting the increasing number of bacterial colonies of milk as it sat out at room temperature for greater periods of time. He inspired me to learn.
What is your greatest regret?
Believing for so long that the work is all about the task and not about the people. I bruised many people during this time and I wish I could take it back. The best way to be truly sorry is to change and that is what I have been doing.
What one invention would most improve your life?
Beam me up Scotty! A transporter. I log about 300,000 miles a year in flights. I get a lot of work done but this also means a lot of time away from my family.