Emily E. Ricotta, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Independent Research Scholar

Epidemiology and Data Management Unit


Building 10, Room 11N248
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

Dr. Emily Ricotta is an Independent Research Scholar in the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where she leads the Epidemiology and Data Management Unit (EDMU). The EDMU focuses on risk factors and transmission of infectious diseases of public health importance as well as the standardization of protocols for study development and data management of nonrandomized, clinical cohort studies to enhance the efficiency and reproducibility of infectious disease research, particularly during emerging infectious disease outbreaks.

Nonrandomized, observational population studies play a critical role in evaluating health outcomes after exposures of interest such as an infectious disease, an immune disorder, or a particular medical intervention. The strength of these studies is that, when well-designed and executed, they can be more representative of the exposure mechanism and population under study than a randomized control trial (RCT), which is considered the gold standard of medical research. However, while efforts have been made to standardize RCT protocols during infectious disease outbreaks, and for disease treatment in general, protocol standardization of nonrandomized studies is currently lacking. This results in missed opportunities for data and sample collection arising from slow start-up due to regulatory issues or disorganization, especially during emergent situations such as infectious disease outbreaks like Ebola or COVID-19, and problems with the data that is collected. The Epidemiology and Data Management Unit therefore aims to create and implement master protocols that share key elements of study design, thus improving data collection in observational studies and increasing the utility of existing data collection efforts.

The Epidemiology and Data Management Unit also leads and collaborates on studies involving understanding risk factors and transmission of infectious diseases, including leading NIAID's study evaluating the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines in individuals with immune disorders. The members of the EDM Unit are available to collaborate on infectious disease-related studies from design through data analysis.


Dr. Emily Ricotta received her Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2018 from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute at the University of Basel where her research focused on how human behavior impacts the uptake and use of malaria prevention methods, specifically bed nets. Her M.Sc. in molecular microbiology and immunology was awarded in 2012 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for her work on household-level risk factors for malaria transmission. Dr. Ricotta has over fifteen years of research experience in epidemiology and molecular microbiology working with a variety of human pathogens and has participated in global public health program monitoring and evaluation, policy development, and scientific advocacy. In addition to research, she teaches epidemiology, biostatistics, and clinical research methods to graduate students at George Washington University. In March 2019, she was selected to become an Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative Fellow by the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Selected Publications

  1. Ricotta EE, Rid A, Cohen IG, Evans NG. Observational studies must be reformed before the next pandemic. Nat Med. 2023;29(8):1903-1905.
  2. Jeremiah Matson M, Ricotta E, Feldmann F, Massaquoi M, Sprecher A, Giuliani R, Edwards JK, Rosenke K, de Wit E, Feldmann H, Chertow DS, Munster VJ. Evaluation of viral load in patients with Ebola virus disease in Liberia: a retrospective observational study. Lancet Microbe. 2022;3(7):e533-e542.
  3. Drummond RA, Desai JV, Ricotta EE, Swamydas M, Deming C, Conlan S, Quinones M, Matei-Rascu V, Sherif L, Lecky D, Lee CR, Green NM, Collins N, Zelazny AM, Prevots DR, Bending D, Withers D, Belkaid Y, Segre JA, Lionakis MS. Long-term antibiotic exposure promotes mortality after systemic fungal infection by driving lymphocyte dysfunction and systemic escape of commensal bacteria. Cell Host Microbe. 2022;30(7):1020-1033.e6.
  4. Delmonte OM, Bergerson JRE, Burbelo PD, Durkee-Shock JR, Dobbs K, Bosticardo M, Keller MD, McDermott DH, Rao VK, Dimitrova D, Quiros-Roldan E, Imberti L, Ferrè EMN, Schmitt M, Lafeer C, Pfister J, Shaw D, Draper D, Truong M, Ulrick J, DiMaggio T, Urban A, Holland SM, Lionakis MS, Cohen JI, Ricotta EE, Notarangelo LD, Freeman AF. Antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in individuals with various inborn errors of immunity. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2021;148(5):1192-1197.
  5. Abers MS, Delmonte OM, Ricotta EE, Fintzi J, Fink DL, de Jesus AAA, Zarember KA, Alehashemi S, Oikonomou V, Desai JV, Canna SW, Shakoory B, Dobbs K, Imberti L, Sottini A, Quiros-Roldan E, Castelli F, Rossi C, Brugnoni D, Biondi A, Bettini LR, D'Angio' M, Bonfanti P, Castagnoli R, Montagna D, Licari A, Marseglia GL, Gliniewicz EF, Shaw E, Kahle DE, Rastegar AT, Stack M, Myint-Hpu K, Levinson SL, DiNubile MJ, Chertow DW, Burbelo PD, Cohen JI, Calvo KR, Tsang JS, NIAID COVID-19 Consortium, Su HC, Gallin JI, Kuhns DB, Goldbach-Mansky R, Lionakis MS, Notarangelo LD. An immune-based biomarker signature is associated with mortality in COVID-19 patients. JCI Insight. 2021;6(1).

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This page was last updated on Friday, August 25, 2023