Sarah K. Volkman
Research Scientists

Sarah K. Volkman

Principal Research Scientist

Immunology and Infectious Diseases


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. She is particularly interested in using 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.

Sarah received her B.S. from the University of California, San Diego (cum laude) in 1986 and her Sc.D. from the Division of Biological Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health in 1995. She conducted postdoctoral studies with Professor Dyann Wirth at the Harvard School of Public Health and was appointed senior research scientist in 1998. Sarah Volkman is a molecular biologist and senior research scientist in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease at the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the Broad Institute. She is also a Professor of Nursing at the School for Health Studies at Simmons College.



Free online course focuses on malaria eradication

An eight-part, self-paced online course featuring a multidisciplinary perspective on eradicating malaria—MalariaX: Defeating Malaria from the Genes to the Globe—debuted over the summer on the edX global learning platform. The course focuses on the scientific and technological underpinnings…

Student recognized for genetic research on malaria

June 16, 2016 -- As an undergraduate working in malaria researcher Dyann Wirth’s lab at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Caleb Irvine was curious why malaria transmission was on the uptick in the Thiès region of…

Using genomics to shed light on malaria transmission

May 13, 2015 — To fight malaria, it’s crucial to assess the effectiveness of interventions against the mosquito-borne disease. But when malaria transmission declines, traditional methods for estimating transmission—based on mosquito sampling—become difficult. Now, a new study from Harvard…