Dyann Wirth, Ph.D.
Dyann Wirth is an institute member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard and an expert in the molecular biology of infectious diseases. She is also the Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and faculty chair of the Harvard Integrated Life Sciences Program at Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
Wirth provides new insight into how the malaria parasite has evolved, specifically in the areas of population biology, mechanisms of drug and insecticide resistance, and antigenicity. As faculty director of the Harvard Malaria Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Defeating Malaria: From the Genes to the Globe initiative at Harvard University, Wirth has created a unique malaria research and training network that brings together scientists with expertise in molecular biology, genetics, genomics, population genetics, chemistry, cell biology, epidemiology, computational biology, and biostatistics, along with leading clinicians in infectious diseases and pathology.
Wirth and the members of her lab leverage genomic tools and novel approaches to better understand the fundamental biology of the malaria parasite and mechanisms of drug resistance. The long-term goal of this work is to understand basic molecular mechanisms in protozoan parasites with the aim of discovering and applying preventive and therapeutic interventions against infection. Wirth’s research is made possible through collaborative research partnerships with investigators, universities, and clinical centers in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America.
She received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As a global leader in malaria research, Wirth is a member and current chair of the World Health Organization’s Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and has maintained numerous leadership positions in the field. She is a fellow and past president of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH), a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. Wirth is also past chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (2006–2018) and honored recipient of ASTMH’s Joseph Augustine LePrince Medal, BioMalPar’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and USF President’s Global Leadership Award. She has also served on the boards of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and the Marine Biological Laboratory.