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Chief of the Influenza Branch for the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Nancy Cox, Ph.D., at the podium during a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) press briefing.

Nancy J. Cox[1] (born 1949) is an American virologist and served as the Director of the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2006-2014 and as Director of CDC’s World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza from 1992-2014. Cox served as the Chair and Co-Chair of the Scientific Advisory Council of the GISAID Initiative, between the years 2008 - 2017 and is frequently recognized for having played an instrumental role in the success of GISAID.[2][3]


Nancy J. Cox was born in 1949 and is a native of the Curlew, Iowa.[4] She was educated at Iowa State University graduating in 1970 with a degree in Bacteriology.[5][4] Dr. Cox was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to study in England at the University of Cambridge in Darwin College, Cambridge, where in 1975 she earned a doctoral degree in virology.[6]

Nancy Cox, PhD, started working on influenza at the CDC in 1976.[4] She retired in December 2014, after 37 years and 278 publications. Over the course of her career, Cox helped transform the surveillance and science of influenza viruses and vaccines worldwide. At CDC, she set the standards for measuring immune response in infected and vaccinated people, and also led the agency to be the global reference center for antiviral resistance and for measuring transmission of influenza viruses in animal models. As director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for the Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza at CDC, Cox worked closely with public health officials from Russia, Vietnam and China, helping to transform their capabilities in influenza virology and surveillance. Her work with WHO also led to significant changes in the methods, reporting, interpretation and policy development for selecting vaccine viruses for use in annual influenza vaccine production.

Cox has been the recipient of 10 CDC recognition awards, seven Nakano Awards, four Shepard Awards, The Lancet’s “Paper of the Year,” Time Magazine’s “The Time 100: People Who Shape Our World,” Service to America Award, CDC’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the US Government Federal Employee of the Year award.


  1. ^ "PIP Framework, Biography of Nancy J. Cox", World Health Organization, Geneva. Retrieved on 2016-11-16.
  2. ^ Elbe, Stefan; Buckland-Merrett, Gemma (2017-01-01). "Data, disease and diplomacy: GISAID's innovative contribution to global health". Global Challenges. 1 (1): 33–46. doi:10.1002/gch2.1018. ISSN 2056-6646.
  3. ^ "GISAID - Governance". Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  4. ^ a b c Squires, Heather (2015-01-02). "Former Resident Retires From Career With CDC". Emmetsburg News. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  5. ^ "Distinguished Alumni". Iowa State University, Office of Admissions. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  6. ^ "Influenza: Tracking a Moving Target in a Rapidly Changing World". Iowa State University of Science and Technology, Nanovaccine Institute. 2014. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
Government offices
Preceded by
Director of the Influenza Division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Succeeded by
Daniel B. Jernigan[1]
Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology and Control of Influenza, Atlanta
Succeeded by
Jacqueline M. Katz[2]
Educational offices
New title Co-Chair of GISAID Scientific Advisory Council
Succeeded by
Jacqueline M. Katz

  1. ^ "CDCNCIRS - Influenza Division". Retrieved 2017-09-07.
  2. ^ "CDCNCIRS - Influenza Division". Retrieved 2017-09-07.