Harmit Malik received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and his PhD from the University of Rochester. He moved to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle for post-doctoral work and decided to stay, starting his own lab in the Division of Basic Sciences in 2003. Malik is interested in the evolution of genetic conflict. To this end, his lab studies transposable elements and viruses, as both of these genomic elements are interested only in their own evolutionary success. He also studies the strategies used by primates to defend themselves against attack by viruses. Another part of his lab is interested in understanding how these conflicts between and within genomes shape essential cellular processes, with a special focus on chromosome segregation.
Malik has been awarded numerous prizes for his research including the 2010 Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science, a Presidential Early Career Award and a HHMI Early Career Scientist award.