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Postdoctoral Scholar

Melissa Salm

Postdoctoral Scholar, Infectious Diseases
Melissa Salm is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University, where she works with Dr. Megan Palmer and Dr. David Relman. Originally trained as an anthropologist of science, Melissa’s research portfolio centers around building bridges between the human, health and life sciences to drive innovation in global public health research. Currently, Melissa works with virologists, bioethicists, synthetic biologists, and security strategists on policy-facing research to identify mechanisms for transforming biotechnological innovations into tools that can safely improve scientific understanding of pathogen emergence and increase capacities for pandemic preparedness without increasing unnecessary research-related risks.

Prior to joining CISAC, Melissa completed her PhD in Anthropology with a designated emphasis in Science & Technology Studies from the University of California, Davis. Her doctoral research examined the integration of climate science, veterinary medicine, animal population ecology and biosecurity frameworks into epidemiological field investigations of endemic zoonoses (i.e., One Health) across Peru. The dissertation chronicled how collaborative, cross-sectoral and transdisciplinary forms of global health research catalyzed new ways of understanding and intervening into disease dynamics arising at human-animal-environment interfaces. Her postdoctoral research steers this inquiry into a different direction that critically interrogates the promises and perils of One Health-related viral discovery initiatives and ongoing experimental laboratory research with pandemic potential pathogens.


Master of Arts, University Of London, Sociology (2011)
Bachelor of Arts, New York University, Individualized Study (2010)
Doctor of Philosophy, University of California Davis (2021)
MA, University of London - Goldsmiths, Sociology (2011)
PhD, University of California, Department of Anthropology (2021)