Born in Norwood, Massachusetts, Harriet Kiwanuka is the daughter of two Ugandan immigrants, whose determination and devotion serve as her ultimate driving force. All that she has accomplished is a testament to the strength of her parents, the guidance of her four older siblings, and the love and grace of God.
Harriet’s ultimate goal is the discovery of better treatments for burn and trauma patients. When she was 11, a house fire occurred that severely injured her parents, especially her mother. Throughout her parent’s recovery, Harriet’s passion to pursue medicine grew as she witnessed the capacity of science to heal. She also observed many ways that burn care could be enhanced and wanted to play a leading role in future research.
At Princeton University, Harriet realized that she could juggle her interest in science with another personal passion—politics. In her independent research, she investigated the impact of past authoritarian regimes on the current state of democracy and governance in various developing nations. She graduated cum laude from Princeton with a degree in Politics. Following each undergraduate school year, along with two-years post-graduation, she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Bohdan Pomahac at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Her research focused on burn care and vascularized composite allotransplantation for the treatment of trauma patients.
As a medical student at Stanford University, Harriet has continued her research, expanding her interests to topics such as burn care of vulnerable populations and CRISPR-cas9 engineered stem cell burn therapy. In total, Harriet has coauthored 13 publications, five of which she serves as the first author. She is currently spearheading the creation of a program which improves the long-term physical, psychiatric, psychosocial, and rehabilitative care of burn survivors. She hopes to become a plastic and reconstructive surgeon.