Melissa Densmore
Melissa Densmore runs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Cape Town (UCT), where she is a Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science, Coordinator of the Hasso-Plattner Institute Research School at UCT, and a member of executive team for the UCT Centre in Information & Communications Technology for Development. Prior to joining UCT she did her postdoc at Microsoft Research India, and has also worked for a number of Silicon Valley startups. She has been in the ICT4D space since 2004, doing ethnographic field work, systems design, and deployments in Africa and India. Her current research looks at community-based digital innovation and content creation for maternal and child health and community wireless networks, especially in bandwidth-constrained settings. With students, collaborators, and community members, she is developing iNethi, a platform that supports community-based digital content and service creation for community wireless networks, with a goal of using local ICTs to strengthen communities. In other work, she works with parents and community members to understand and co-design tools to support maternal and child health, including PreemieCare, an app to support parents of premature infants, and Milk Matters, an app to support breastmilk donations. Through these projects she seeks to understand internet usage and digital participation in bandwidth-constrained populations and explores ethical issues around community-based research. Melissa completed her PhD at University of California, Berkeley in Information Management and Systems, has an MSc in Data Communications, Networks and Distributed Systems from University College London, and a BA in Computer Science from Cornell University.
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