An Integrated Approach to Life Sciences
In the 21st century, groundbreaking research and discovery in the life sciences are more interdisciplinary than ever, and students studying within the life sciences today can expect to work with a wider range of scientists and scholars than their predecessors could ever have imagined. Recognizing this approach to scientific advancement, Harvard created the Integrated Life Sciences (HILS) Graduate Program, which oversees all PhD education in the life sciences. HILS is a federation of Harvard life sciences PhD programs, departments, and subject areas that facilitates cross-disciplinary academic and research collaboration, supports student mobility, and encourages extracurricular participation by its students, faculty, and staff members. HILS integrates 12 life sciences graduate programs and subject areas across four Harvard faculties: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Dental School, the Medical School, and the School of Public Health. This structure allows the examination of emerging trends in the life sciences, and allows Harvard to respond rapidly to the world’s evolving scientific landscape—including the need for new interdisciplinary areas of study such as translational medicine, regenerative biology, and integrative genomics.
Professor Dyann Wirth, the HILS Faculty Chair
Dyann Wirth, appointed faculty chair of Harvard Integrated Life Sciences in July 2012, is the Richard Pearson Strong Professor of Infectious Diseases and chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is a senior associate member of the Broad Institute and the co-director’s of the Broad’s Infectious Disease Initiative. She is also the director of the Harvard Malaria Initiative at the School of Public Health.
Her lab focuses on developing smarter tools to understand and fight malaria and the mechanisms of drug resistance that allow the malaria parasite to evolve. By combining the insights and approaches of scientists at HSPH and the Broad, along with collaborators from around the world, the Wirth Lab is a unique research and training network with expertise in molecular biology, genetics, genomics, chemistry, cell biology, epidemiology, computational biology, biostatistics, infectious diseases, and pathology. Leveraging the genomic tools of the human genomic project, her group has applied state-of-the-art technologies and novel approaches to better understand the fundamental biology of malaria.