Dr. Nkya has a background in Microbiology and Chemistry (BSc) and Molecular Biology (MSc). As part of her MSc training, she conducted research in malaria and held an internship at Kemri Wellcome Trust, Mombasa, Kenya.
Since joining Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) as a research scientist in 2009, she has been leading and participating in research projects related to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD). In 2015, Siana was involved in establishing a newborn screening programme for SCD at MUHAS. The primary focus of her PhD was the genetic determinants of foetal haemoglobin, during which she established a genetic database of more than 1700 individuals with SCD and undertook the first Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) analysis of an African population in collaboration with the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. She held a Commonwealth Split-Site Fellowship spending one year of her PhD at King’s College London, UK.
Siana is a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at DUCE and an honorary lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, MUHAS.
In 2018, Siana was nominated for the Women career scientists award Tanzania by the Next Einstein Forum (NEF). She is a Fogarty Global Health Fellow (2016/2017) and an African Academy of Science affiliate (2018-2022) from Eastern Africa region. In 2018, Siana received inaugural ASH Global research award (2018-2020) and Early career fellowship (2019-2021) by the American Society of Hematology and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, respectively, for conducting genomic research. Siana has also received the Emerging Global Leader Award, K43 from Fogarty, NIH.
Siana is a co-founder of the Tanzania Society of Human Genetics (TSHG) that was initiated in 2018.