Erica Ollmann Saphire, Ph.D. is a Professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. Her research explains, at the molecular level, how and why viruses are pathogenic and provides the roadmap for medical defense. Her team has solved the structures of the Ebola, Sudan, Marburg, Bundibugyo and Lassa virus glycoproteins, explained how they remodel these structures as they drive themselves into cells, how their proteins suppress immune function and where human antibodies can defeat these viruses. Dr. Saphire, herself, solved the first crystal structure of the entire human antibody, revealing at the same time, the hexameric assembly by which the IgG activates the complement cascade for immune protection. Another discovery from her lab expanded the central dogma of molecular biology by proving that certain viral proteins actually rearrange into different structures at different times for different functions. A recent discovery revealed why neutralizing antibodies had been so difficult to elicit against Lassa virus, and provided not only the templates for the needed vaccine, but the molecule itself: a Lassa surface glycoprotein engineered to remain in the right conformation to inspire the needed antibody response. This molecule is the basis for international vaccine efforts against Lassa. Dr. Saphire was also the galvanizing force behind the Viral Hemorrhagic Fever Immunotherapeutic Consortium and is the Director of this organization. This consortium, united 44 previously competing academic, industrial and government labs across five continents to understand and provide antibody therapeutics against Ebola, Marburg, Lassa and other viruses. This year, the Gates Foundation asked her to head up CoVIC, a similar consortium to understand, evaluate and mobilize antibody therapy against SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Saphire’s work has been recognized at the White House with the Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, with young investigator awards from the International Congress of Antiviral Research, the American Society for Microbiology, and the MRC Centre for Virus Research in the United Kingdom. She has also been recognized with an Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and by the Surhain Sidhu award for the most outstanding contribution to the field of diffraction by a person within five years of the Ph.D. She has been awarded a Fulbright Global Scholar fellowship from the United States Department of State and a Mercator Fellowship from Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, to develop international collaborations around human health and molecular imaging through cryoelectron microscopy.