Melissa Ko earned an S.B. in biology from MIT and a PhD in cancer biology from Stanford University. Her research aims to develop novel computational pipelines to make sense of the deluge of single-cell high-dimensional data collected by biologists. Using visualizations and modeling, Melissa reveals mechanisms of drug resistance in cancer and identifies 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. Melissa has taught computational and cancer biology workshops at Stanford University as well as general biology at Foothill College. As a Thinking Matters Fellow, Melissa teaches THINK 3: Breaking Codes, Finding Patterns, THINK 61: Living with Viruses, and THINK 23: The Cancer Problem: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention.
In addition, 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 prior work with Stanford’s Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Melissa has also developed diversity and inclusion content for instructors of in-person, online, and hybrid format classes.
Outside of work, Melissa enjoys cooking, playing video games, reading poetry, and going on walks in the park.