Saki works on the investigation and understanding of the spread of infectious diseases. During her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University, she studied the geographical risk of measles in Africa and the transmission patterns of hand, foot, and mouth disease in Asia.
One of the major challenges in infectious disease epidemiology is the unification of large amounts of data about disease and the populations they affect, across numerous different scales, from the molecular to the population. As a Schmidt Science Fellow, Saki will combine big data computing with molecular techniques to explore complex infectious disease dynamics for diseases such as malaria. In particular, she is interested in launching investigations on how a person’s previous exposure to a disease can shape their future immunity. By probing host immunological experiences with respect to both the antibodies produced and the malaria antigens seen, she hopes to help fill knowledge gaps on the development of malaria immunity.
Understanding how infectious diseases spread and what renders susceptibility to different individuals and populations, bears important societal benefit for both detection and control.