Ivan Specht

2024 Hertz Fellow
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Ivan Specht builds mathematical models for analyzing, predicting and preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

He will pursue his doctorate in mathematical biology from Stanford University where he aims to create the preeminent epidemiological toolkit for stopping pandemics.

Specht has written four first-author papers to date, two of which have been published in Nature Scientific Reports and Cell Patterns, and he has co-authored publications in several other journals, including Cell. During the height of the pandemic, The New York Times featured his research on effective COVID-19 testing strategies, which were implemented by several universities in the United States. Most recently, Specht developed a high-accuracy tool for reconstructing disease transmission networks, for which he holds a provisional patent. He has presented this method to the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health, and he has collaborated with leading infectious disease specialists in Sierra Leone to incorporate his work into the country’s outbreak response protocol.

Specht is currently a senior at Harvard College, pursuing a joint degree in math and statistics. He loves teaching epidemiology to students of all backgrounds, having developed a disease modeling course for scientists in Sierra Leone, and co-authoring an outbreak science textbook for high schoolers. From ages nine to 17, Specht attended the pre-college division of The Juilliard School to study music composition, a passion he still pursues.

Graduate Studies

Stanford University
Mathematical Biology

Undergraduate Studies

Harvard University

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