After matriculating from King David Linksfield, Paul completed a BS Honors in Biochemistry and Physiology at the University of Witwatersrand, a Master’s in Public Health and Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a Doctor of Science in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health, and an MBA at Wharton Business School at University of Pennsylvania.
Just as important as his formal education were experiences working for Oxfam at a rural mission hospital near Gwanda, Zimbabwe as a physician assistant, ambulance driver and village health worker trainer. He spent 18 months studying Talmud in Yeshiva on Mount Zion and in Me’a She’arim, Jerusalem studying, where he learnt analytical rigor and to study intensely for many hours in the week. Working as a goatherd on a moshav near Safed, he learnt to herd a group.
Paul Coplan has dedicated his career to developing new vaccines, medicines and medical technology and assessing their effectiveness and safety. He helped develop Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine as a member of the Clinical trial team to test vaccine safety and efficacy, including using mathematical modeling of the Covid-19 pandemic to assist in selecting countries and clinical trial sites for the vaccine testing. He also served on the company’s Safety Advisory Board for the Covid-19 vaccine.
Paul has worked on the development of 8 widely used vaccines (to protect populations against cervical cancer, bacterial pneumonia and meningitis, shingles, chicken pox, hepatitis A and B, measles/mumps/rubella), 9 pharmaceutical products (to treat HIV, cancer, severe pain, antibiotics, antifungals, contraceptives, and pain medications) and 3 medical device products (to treat atrial fibrillation, remove stroke thrombi, and ablate tumors) over the past 26 years. In addition, Paul was the early clinical lead for a microbicide to prevent HIV infection among women in developing countries that was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and recently approved by WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Paul is the Vice President of Epidemiology and Real-World Data Sciences for Medical Devices at Johnson and Johnson, where he leads a team of over 30 epidemiologists, data scientists, data programmers and statisticians. He is working on using machine learning for robotic surgery and digital technology to improve the safety and performance of surgeries and medical devices. He has also taught Epidemiology at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine as an adjunct professor for the past 21 years.
He has authored or coauthored over 90 peer-reviewed journal articles and 500 international conference podium presentations, abstracts and posters. He has conducted studies in 15 countries and established clinical trial centers for testing HIV prevention technologies in Rwanda, Tanzania, South Africa, and in Southeast Asia. He has worked extensively with the FDA, the EMA and Chinese national regulators. He is a member of several public-private partnerships to advance medical science, including the National Evaluation System for health Technology (NEST) and the Science of Patient Input steering team for the Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC). He lives in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters.
“I am very grateful for the education and community at King David, which played a huge role in my life. Elliott Wolf, as headmaster, set the tone for developing into young adults through high school with decency, ethical values, and a love of Latin. Rose Cohen instilled an appreciation of poetry and English literature, Chaim Lewis a rootedness in Jewish history, Mrs Benjamin a solid foundation in Mathematics, Mr Simpson a fascination for Physics and Chemistry, Mr Van Loggenberg the spirit of Afrikaans, Doc Thomas an appreciation of Catulus and Roman cussing, Mr Altshuler an appreciation of Jewish mystical chorale music, Mr Savage the courage needed for Rugby, Mrs Norton the determination for swimming and water polo, and Mr Lowry the freedom and joy of hiking the Transkei Wild Coast”.