Molly Maleckar, Ph.D.
Molly Maleckar joined the Allen Institute for Cell Science in January of 2017 as the Director of Modeling, and currently leads a team of ten Scientists and Research Engineers, with backgrounds in bioengineering, computational biology, physics, applied math, and computer science.
The Modeling team’s work is focused on both mechanistic insight and tool development, and currently seeks to characterize and predict variation in human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) populations and to model the physical organization of these cells as tied to their function in health and disease.
Prior to joining the team, she had served in a leadership role at Simula Research Laboratory (Oslo, Norway) since 2010, most recently as a Senior Scientist in computational cardiac modeling. Cardiac modeling, at the intersection of engineering, biology, mathematics, and physics, captured Molly’s interest as a novice investigator; this interdisciplinary and the multiple temporal and spatial scales addressed is echoed in current computational modeling projects in undifferentiated hiPSC and hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes.
Molly received her B.S.E. in Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University in 2002, and her Ph.D. in the same from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 2008. She moved to Simula Research Laboratory in 2009 to begin postdoctoral work, and collaboratively soon won external funding focused on translational applications in cardiac modeling via Simula's partnership in a national Center for Cardiological Innovation (CCI). She was involved since both as an active researcher and the Simula Representative to the Board of Directors. Molly has additionally co-coordinated or coordinated multiple international projects aimed at development of innovative risk scores and therapies: i.e. to elucidate risk for sudden cardiac death associated with first myocardial infarction (MI-RISK) and a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network designed to train Europe's next generation of interdisciplinary cardiac scientists while attacking major obstacles to the development of new therapies for atrial fibrillation (AFib-TrainNet). In the latter, Dr. Maleckar also served as the Head of the Supervisory Board.
As a current team lead, and the former leader of her research department and Director of Simula’s graduate school, Molly endeavors to bring both an interdisciplinary and global perspective to her work. This means being open to concepts from both related and unrelated fields of research to support and guide translational science. Simply stated, she enjoys work which occurs at the intersection of technology and biology and remains fascinated by our growing ability to understand previously enigmatic aspects of the human body via advances in technology. She has also been involved in teaching throughout her scientific career, and enjoys sharing research advances with the public at conferences and seminars, particularly when she can spark curiosity and encourage discussion.