Shivana Lightman, Ph.D.

Shivana Lightman's Credentials

PhD in Microbiology and Immunology, University at Buffalo/Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Bachelor of Science in Biology, Chaminade University of Honolulu

About Shivana Lightman

Meet Shivana Lightman, an immunologist-turned-mom-turned-policy entrepreneur and scientific communicator with a passion for writing, particularly about dog related science.

Originally from Hawaii, Shivana’ s love and connection with dogs was first fostered through her childhood pup, Raja, a German Shepherd Lab mix. While not from a scientific family, Shivana was drawn to the world of science and medicine, and luckily her family’s background gave her an appreciation for the importance of effective scientific communication.

Shivana has her B.S. from Chaminade University and a PhD in Immunology from the University at Buffalo/Roswell Park. Her expertise is in long lived antibody responses, or ‘how your body will retain protection against certain diseases.’ Shivana has authored several publications, most notably including a paper in Immunity, in 2021.

In addition to her role as an immunologist, Shivana has moonlit as a venture capital associate, conducting due diligence on a variety of deep tech startups. She also co-founded a policy group in the University at Buffalo which both wrote about current scientific topics in the world and provided educational services to the Buffalo public. It was during this time that she adopted Theia, a (then) 10 week old German Shepherd / Boxer / Collie / Chow puppy that looks like an Oreo Cheesecake.

Shivana is now mom to a human 2 year old and Theia. She juggles her time between being a full-time mother, policy entrepreneur, and medical writer on a variety of topics, including COVID, vaccines, and general immunological health (yes…a dangerous topic that only a brave or foolhardy writer would take on).

Shivana has a passion for making complex areas of science accessible to the public and has worked with a variety of people and ideas, learning how to explore questions from multiple perspectives and connect with diverse audiences through writing. She considers herself lucky to be able to combine her multiple passions together in writing for

When she isn’t writing, you can find Shivana sipping a cup of tea, cuddling with Theia, adventuring with her family, or rolling her eyes at her husband.

My Dog

My canine soulmate, Theia, is half German Shepherd and half a mix of Pitbull, Boxer, Collie, and Chow. I describe her as a hyena that was painted Oreo Cheesecake.

Theia’s personality effortlessly matches mine. Before her, I had never fully appreciated how integral a dog can be as you navigate life. Prior to COVID my husband traveled extensively for work, and I was a doctoral student far away from my childhood home (sunny Hawaii to snowy Buffalo). Her presence was my grounding factor. Not only did she keep me company, but any of her thousands of facial expressions and nose boops let me know that I was loved, and she was a fully participating member of the family.

She is the perfect combination of loyal, affectionate to her people, full of puppy energy, and too smart for her own good. I simply cannot imagine life without my Theia. She regularly reminds me of how constant love can be, with cuddles, kisses, and the occasional Boxer punch to the face to let me know she needs to potty.

Shivana Lightman_Heart Dog_Theia_pol