Alison McCormick, PhD

Professor, College of Pharmacy
Alison McCormick

Areas of Expertise

Vaccines and preclinical testing


Abstract The focus of my research has been pandemic preparedness and rapid response vaccine development, using Tobacco Mosaic virus as a subunit vaccine carrier. TMV is a self-assembling +strand RNA plant virus with excellent uniformity, ease of recovery and immune activating characteristics that make it ideal as a safe vaccine delivery vector. Early on in this project, we used molecular evolution to generate at TMV subtype that had improved vaccine characteristics compared to wildtype TMV. We then used the improved TMV to generate vaccines of against a number of different infectious disease targets. I have been working on the validation of Influenza A/B vaccines by preclinical efficacy testing. We have expanded this to develop a universal flu vaccine, with the goal of improving protection against non-homologous strains, and increasing the duration of protection beyond annual vaccinations. I have collaborations with several other labs to develop vaccines against other important human pathogens, like plague, tularemia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and COVID19. Throughout this work, I have been mentoring students, with hands on training in the lab. My role has been to solidify basic concepts in math, biology and chemistry to into working skills and problem solving skill, in order to prepare our students for the changing needs of the pharmaceutical sciences workforce.


  • Iowa State University at Ames, Bachelor of Science in Biological Psychology          
  • University of California at San Diego, Ph. D in Physiology and Pharmacology    
  • Stanford University School of Medicine, Postdoctoral fellow


Seasonal Influenza vaccine optimization (with Dr. Gregory Pogue)
Universal flu vaccine development (with Dr. Eric Weaver)
COVID19 vaccine development  (with Dr. Joshua Royal)
Plague and Pseudomonas aeruginosa vaccine development (with Dr. Paul Arnaboldi)

Teaching Responsibilities

Pharmaceutical sciences, PRMC 610 and PRMC 614, with an emphasis on infectious disease pharmacology.