This week on #WeAreEmoryEPI, we are featuring Nita Madhav! Nita Madhav is the Chief Executive Officer at Metabiota, a company that specializes in measuring, mitigating, and managing epidemic risk. Nita is also an alum of Rollins and graduated in 2005 from the MSPH EPI program. To learn more about Nita and how Rollins has impacted her path to this role, keep reading.
What year did you graduate from Rollins, what was your program, and what was the focus of your research/coursework during the program?
I graduated in 2005 from the MSPH EPI program, and my coursework focused on quantitative methods and infectious disease epidemiology. My master’s thesis was focused on hantavirus dynamics in rodent populations and implications for human disease risk.
Tell us about your current role and how your experience at Rollins impacted your path to this role and/or how it impacts your current work.
I am currently the CEO of Metabiota, a company that aims to improve the world’s resilience to epidemics by providing data, analytic tools, and expertise to companies and governments. Prior to this, I was the VP of Data Science at Metabiota, and I have spent many years working on risk modeling techniques for epidemics and pandemics. My time at Rollins was instrumental in giving me a strong quantitative foundation on which to base my work in computational epidemiology and disease analytics. It also instilled in me the importance of collaborative, whole-systems solutions to addressing global health challenges.
What advice do you have for Rollins students who want to pursue leadership roles in EPI or EPI-adjacent fields?
I would recommend for EPI students interested in a leadership role to break out of any silos and reach across disciplines. For example, my role today involves a lot of overlap with health policy, global health, economics, and social science, and everyone needs to speak a common language to have an effective dialogue. Being an effective leader requires not just a strong grasp of the technical aspects of the field, but also a strong background in “soft skills” such as team-building, collaboration, and earning trust.
What are three fun facts that you want people to know about you?
- A few of my previous jobs included field studies of rodent disease ecology. For one particularly interesting project, we would trap field mice, tag them with fluorescent powder, and then release them. We would then return at night with a blacklight and track their footprints. It was amazing to see how far they roamed.
- People are often surprised to learn that my favorite type of music is metal. In my younger days, I frequently attended concerts, including some great ones at The Masquerade in Atlanta while I was a Rollins student.
- When I was an undergrad, I was a writer and editor for the Yale Scientific Magazine, and I found a passion for translating scientific and technical information for general audiences. I still use the skills I learned through that experience in my daily work.
Nita Madhav is the Chief Executive Officer at Metabiota, a company that specializes in measuring, mitigating, and managing epidemic risk. Nita has over 15 years of experience in probabilistic modeling and risk assessment, with a focus on monitoring and modeling infectious disease spread and economic impacts. Before becoming CEO of Metabiota, Nita was the Vice President of Data Science at Metabiota, where she established and led the data science and modeling group and spearheaded the team’s efforts to create a comprehensive library of modeled pathogens. Nita lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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