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Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Bioengineering
BioMelissa Ko earned an S.B. in biology from MIT and a PhD in cancer biology from Stanford University. Her graduate research developed novel computational pipelines to make sense of single-cell high-dimensional data collected by biologists. Using visualizations and modeling, Melissa revealed mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer and identified more effective treatment combinations. During her graduate career, Melissa received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, Stanford’s Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Fellowship, and the National Cancer Institute F99/K00 Fellowship.
After transitioning to an education-focused career track, Melissa taught various workshops and courses at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and Foothill College. During her time as a Thinking Matters Fellow, Melissa also taught Breaking Codes, Living with Viruses, Our Genome, and The Cancer Problem. Melissa is now the Science and Engineering Education Fellow (SEEF) for the Bioengineering department, working on broader educational research projects and curricular change to better understand and support student development as ethical and quantitative thinkers.
Over the years, Melissa has been involved with numerous educational outreach programs including the Splash program at MIT, Stanford, and Berkeley. Through these programs and related efforts, she has taught middle school and high school students in a variety of subjects, from cancer biology to personal finance to poetry. Melissa is dedicated to improving the experience of underrepresented students in all STEM disciplines. She served as a mentor and program leader for numerous Stanford Bioscience programs including SSRP and ADVANCE. Through work with Stanford’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Melissa has also developed diversity and inclusion content for instructors of in-person, online, and hybrid format classes. Melissa continues to serve as a teaching consultant with CTL and focuses on projects relating to equity.
Outside of work, Melissa enjoys cooking, playing video games, reading poetry, and going on family walks with her dog in the park.