Taming Vaccine Data

Joann Arce uses computation, systems biology to answer people’s questions about vaccines

portrait photo of a smiling Filipino-American woman wearing a blazer

Joann Arce. Image: Boston Children’s

This article is part of Harvard Medical School’s continuing coverage of COVID-19.

Joann Arce is a data tamer — corralling and wrangling vast quantities of data to extract insights on how our immune systems react to vaccines and infections.

Her work is paving a path toward smarter, more potent vaccines.

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Arce wields several scientific superpowers: bioinformatics and big data; systems biology, or analysis of whole biological systems; and the burgeoning science of “omics,” which catalogs the different molecules produced by cells or organisms.

With these abilities, Arce had offers for postdoctoral fellowships in a variety of fields. But as a parent, the Precision Vaccines Program at Boston Children’s Hospital intrigued her most.