Developing the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine: Elizabeth Blackwell Annual Public Lecture 2021 with Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert

6 October 2021, 1.00 PM - 6 October 2021, 2.00 PM

Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert


This year's Elizabeth Blackwell Public Lecture will be given by Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert, at 1 - 2 pm on Wednesday 6 October. 

We are delighted to welcome Professor Gilbert 'virtually' to Bristol to talk on the development of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. 

Please register for this free public lecture on the Eventbrite page.

Dame Sarah Gilbert is Professor of Vaccinology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and is the Oxford Project Leader for ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, the leading UK coronavirus vaccine.

In this talk, Dame Sarah will take us on a journey from the moment she first heard about a serious new illness affecting people in China, to her team designing a successful COVID-19 vaccine which would save the lives of millions of people. You will hear the behind-the-scenes story of how the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine - both cheaper and easier to distribute than some other vaccines - was developed and approved at a pace, while the public waited eagerly for science to find a way out of this major global health challenge.

She will look at the reasons some people are hesitant to get vaccinated and discuss how people’s trust in science can be affected by how science is communicated. What can we learn from this pandemic and the ways it could help us plan for future health crises, as we look towards a post-COVID world?

Dame Sarah Gilbert completed her undergraduate studies at the University of East Anglia and her doctoral degree at the University of Hull. Following four years as a research scientist at the biopharmaceutical company Delta Biotechnology she joined Oxford University in 1994 and became part of the Jenner Institute (within NDM) when it was founded in 2005.

Her chief research interest is the development of viral-vectored vaccines that work by inducing strong and protective T and B cell responses. She works on vaccines for many different emerging pathogens, including influenza, Nipah, MERS, Lassa, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, and SARS-CoV-2.

Working with colleagues in the Jenner Institute research labs, the Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility and Centre for Clinical Vaccinology and Tropical Medicine, all situated on the Old Road Campus in Oxford, she is able to take novel vaccines from design to clinical development, with a particular interest in the rapid transfer of vaccines into manufacturing and first in human trials.

The Elizabeth Blackwell Institute is honoured to welcome Dame Sarah Gilbert as the 8th speaker in our Annual Public Lecture series, named after Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the USA and to be placed on the UK's medical register. Elizabeth was born in Bristol in 1821 and returned to the UK in 1859 to lecture at a social sciences congress held on the site now occupied by the Wills Memorial Building. Members of the public are especially welcome to these lectures, which aim to revive the spirit of Elizabeth Blackwell’s Penny Lectures, designed to educate and to encourage new thinking, ideas and debate.

We look forward to welcoming you to this free online event. Please register and the details on how to access the lecture on 6 October will be emailed to the email address you supply.

Attendees have the chance to win a copy of Vaxxers, the new book by Dame Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green, giving the inside story of the Oxford vaccine and the race against the virus. Simply tick the box to sign up to our bulletin during the registration process and you will be added to the draw which will take place after the event.

Register for the Elizabeth Blackwell Public Lecture 2021

Contact information

Please direct queries to

Edit this page