Nikiah Dawson is the Senior Manager of Program Operations. She joined MHRP in 2016 as a Program Manager. Her role then was primarily focused on the finance and research activities of one lab. Five years later, she has become a senior leader, managing various operations and awards and serving as the main point-of-contact for lab operations and awards management for HJF programs at WRAIR.
Nikiah attended the University of Delaware where she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Animal Science. She relocated to the Washington D.C. area to start her career at the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in molecular biology.
Her path transitioned into vaccine research when she began doing bench work with NIAID in the Laboratory of Malaria, Immunology, and Vaccinology in the Molecular Biology section creating recombinant protein constructs for malaria vaccines. As her career progressed, she became increasingly interested in the behind-the-scenes work of vaccine research. She went on to obtain her Master’s of Science in Biotechnology Management from the University of Maryland which led her to begin her journey at MHRP.
Nikiah is particularly interested in understanding how things work. “I am always thinking, how did we get where we are, how can we get where we want to be, and how can we do things better than before” she says. Her first-hand experience working at the bench has allowed her to view the research process through a unique lens. She hopes to continue to help make the process more efficient in the future.
Beyond improving and streamlining processes, Nikiah enjoys interacting with others, building relationships, solving problems, and implementing innovative ideas that continue to support MHRP’s mission.