Vira uses an interdisciplinary approach to understand the political, structural, sociocultural, and institutional context of public health problems, interventions, and policies. Her research lies at the intersection of medical and social sciences, and is currently focusing on the context of HIV in Iran and the larger Middle East and North Africa.
Her thesis examines access and adherence to treatment for people living with HIV. She further investigates the potential for digital health technologies as a policy and programming tool for improving health outcomes. She is using mixed-methods research designs, triangulating qualitative, quantitative, and realist methods, on primary data on the Iranian context, and secondary data on global evidence. She is leading a research project, for which she has secured funding and built international collaborations across University of Oxford, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University School of Public Health.
She studied Biochemistry at Brown University for her bachelors degree. She then obtained a Master of Science (MSc) degree in Biomedical Sciences from Boston University School of Medicine, where she engaged in translational research methods, combining biological and clinical sciences. She then joined the Boston University School of Public Health for a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, concentrating in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and focusing her research on social determinants of substance use and HIV.
She engages in teaching research methods in the department, delivering lectures for masters students on quantitative, qualitative, and realist methods. Previously, she taught epidemiology and translational research methods in Boston University.