Stanley Plotkin Interview


Stanley Plotkin (Wikimedia Commons)

Our March Immunologist of the month in Professor Stanley Plotkin, a world-renowned vaccinologist  and an influential figure in the field of infectious diseases. Professor Plotkin is currently an Emeritus Professor of the University of Pennsylvania, and Adjunct Professor of the Johns Hopkins University.

Professor Plotkin’s contribution to the field of vaccinology and infectious diseases, is evident in the numerous awards he has received, such as but not limited to: the Bruce Medal in Preventive Medicine of the American College of Physicians, the French Legion of Honor Medal, the Sabin Gold Medal, the medal of the Fondation Mérieux, Finland Award of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and the Hilleman Award of the American Society for Microbiology.

Professor Plotkin developed the rubella vaccine, now in standard use throughout the world, and is codeveloper of the newly licensed pentavalent rotavirus vaccine. He has also worked extensively on the development and application of other vaccines including anthrax, oral polio, rabies, varicella, and cytomegalovirus. His bibliography includes nearly 700 articles and he has edited several books including the standard textbook on Vaccines, now in its 7th edition.

The Immunopaedia team was very honoured to interview Professor Stanley Plotkin, who kindly accepted to be interviewed via skype.

Additionally, he kindly shared some career advice targeted towards young career scientist. As well answer a few questions about his career path.


Due to lack of time, other interview questions not included in the videos are listed below.

There is an increase in cases of measles, an otherwise vaccine preventable disease. What impact do you think anti-vaxxers will have in the global morbidity and mortality of young children due otherwise vaccine-preventable diseases? Anti-vaxers will allow continued deaths due to measles.

How can the global community prevent this? This can only be prevented by mandatory vaccination laws.

What do you think the role of scientists is in vaccine advocacy?: Scientists should have a role in reassuring the public about safety and efficacy of vaccines.

What inspirational books would you recommend to younger people who are interested in becoming vaccinologist and/or immunologists:Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis and Microbe Hunters by Paul de Kruif.

Out of curiosity which one of your own works is your favourite co-authored article?  Plotkin SA. Complex Correlates of Protection After Vaccination. Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2013.


Interviewer: Cheleka AM Mpande

International Union of Immunological SocietiesUniversity of South AfricaInstitute of Infectious Disease and Molecular MedicineElizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation