Dr. Sarah Volkman has over twenty years of experience in malaria biology and is a world expert on malaria with a focus on mechanisms of drug resistance. Her primary research interest centers on understanding genetic variation in Plasmodium falciparum, a causative agent of human malaria infection, and employing population genetic strategies to identify genetic loci that contribute to drug resistance in this organism. She is currently working toward the development of a genetic diversity map for P. falciparum that may ultimately be used to associate genetic polymorphisms with biologically and clinically relevant phenotypes.
Dr. Volkman is a molecular biologist and senior research scientist in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a member of the Broad Institute and Director of the Institute’s Malaria Diversity Project. Dr. Volkman is also a Professor of Nursing at the School for Health Studies at Simmons College where she has been involved in preparing nursing students in the basic science content since 1989. She teaches Normal and Abnormal Physiology as well as the Integrative Sciences Curriculum for the Direct Entry Program including Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Anatomy and Physiology. In addition to her teaching and research interests, Dr. Volkman is currently writing a textbook on human pathophysiology, which uses clinical case scenarios to examine the mechanisms of human disease. She has received several awards including the Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and was a Senior Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. She is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (wWARN) and a member of the Malaria Disease Reference group of TDR.
Dr. Volkman earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, San Diego (cum laude) in 1986 and doctoral degree from the Division of Biological Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 1995. She conducted postdoctoral studies with Professor Dyann Wirth at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health and was appointed senior research scientist in 1998.