Seattle, WA | June 10, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: SEATTLE, March 24, 2014: Rhea Coler, Ph.D., Vice President of Preclinical Biology for IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute), has been named as a recipient of the “Women to Watch in Life Science” Award, which will be presented during the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association’s annual Life Science Innovation Northwest conference, to be held June 19-20 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

The award, which will be presented at a special luncheon ceremony on June 20, recognizes women “who are thought leaders in their fields and shaping the future of their industries.” Dr. Coler was one of six women, chosen from a field of 39 nominees, to receive the award.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition,” said Dr. Coler. “It is reflective of the strong team we have at IDRI, devoted to finding new solutions for the world’s most devastating infectious diseases.”

Dr. Coler is a cellular immunologist with more than 15 years of experience in studying innate and adaptive immunity, as well as infectious diseases, particularly in relation to vaccine antigen and adjuvant development. She oversees IDRI’s clinical trials for vaccines to combat a variety of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and leishmaniasis. Dr. Coler has risen through the ranks at IDRI, having joined the organization in 1998 as a post-doctoral research fellow, under the mentorship of Dr. Steven G. Reed, Ph.D., IDRI’s Founder, President and Chief Scientific Officer.

“Rhea is very deserving of this award, as she is recognized not only as a strong leader at IDRI, but also among her scientific peers around the world,” said Dr. Reed. “She has led IDRI’s tuberculosis vaccine candidate from bench into the clinic, and now from clinical testing in the U.S. to testing in South Africa. And while Rhea is a terrific scientist, she also serves as a mentor for the next generation, providing guidance and advice for young people interested in science as a career.”

A native of Trinidad, Dr. Coler became interested in science began at an early age. She received her bachelor’s degree from McGill University and a master’s from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In 1998, she received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she now serves as an Affiliate Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health.

The other “Women to Watch in Life Science” award winners are Amanda Jones from Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Amanda Paulovich from the Fred Hutchinson Research Center, Caitlin Cameron from OtoMetrix, Mila Lobanova from Blaze Bioscience and Sita Pappu from Washington State University.

About IDRI

As a non-profit global health organization, IDRI (Infectious Disease Research Institute) takes a comprehensive approach to combat infectious diseases, combining the high-quality science of a research organization with the product development capabilities of a biotech company to create new diagnostics, drugs and vaccines. IDRI combines passion for improving human health with the understanding that it is not just what our scientists know about disease, but what we do to change its course that will have the greatest impact. Founded in 1993, IDRI has 125 employees headquartered in Seattle with nearly 100 partners/collaborators around the world. For more information, visit



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