Sally Blower

Sally Blower

Fellow: Awarded 2009

Field of Study: Medicine and Health

Competition: US & Canada


Sally Blower, a biomathematician and evolutionary biologist, is one of the foremost experts on the modeling of disease transmission dynamics, and is the head of the Disease Modeling Group at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.  Since 1998 she is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Program in Infectious Diseases and Social Change at Harvard Medical School.


Born in London, England, she was educated at the University of Edinburgh (B.S., 1979) and Stanford University (M.S., 1986; Ph.D., 1987).  She was a Medical Research Council postdoctoral fellow for three years at the Imperial College of Science, Technology & Medicine in London, where she trained in mathematical epidemiology and infectious disease modeling, principally of HIV/AIDS, working for part of this time at the University of Princeton and as a research associate at the HIV Center at Columbia University, where her research earned her the Center’s Symposium Prize in 1988.


Before joining UCLA’s School of Medicine in 2000, Ms. Blower was on the faculty at UC Berkeley for five years, as a research biologist in its Survey Research Center (1990-92), and then an assistant (1992-95) and associate (1995) professor in its School of Public Health; she then took up an appointment at UC San Francisco as an associate professor, first in the Department of Epidemiology (1995-98) and then in the Department of Medicine (1998-2000).


Ms. Blower has always emphasized the practical applications of her research, and has consistently worked with infectious disease experts and public-health policymakers in an effort to find practicable means of dealing with health crises, particularly HIV.  During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, she will be in working in Botswana, exploring how to best allocate the country’s limited resources to maximize the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the HIV virus.


Sally Blower has worked with the World Health Organization and has been a consultant to the Department of Homeland Security, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the RAND Corporation, the International AIDS Society, and many other institutions and organizations.  Her publications have appeared in such premier journals as Science, Nature Medicine, Lancet and Lancet Infectious Diseases, and Proceedings of the Natural Academies of Science. She is also on the editorial boards of Human Vaccines, Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, and the Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Evolutionary Genetics. In 2008 the University of Utrecht recognized her important accomplishments with its Eijkman Medal.