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By day, Pardis Sabeti is a Harvard evolutionary geneticist who is using an algorithm she developed to try to understand how the malaria parasite...

By day, Pardis Sabeti is a Harvard evolutionary geneticist who is using an algorithm she developed to try to understand how the malaria parasite develops resistance to the drugs we use to fight it. By night, Sabeti and her band Thousand Days play the clubs around greater Boston. In this NOVA scienceNOW segment, meet the Iranian-born Sabeti in both of her very different worlds.

Pardis C. Sabeti (Persian: پردیس ثابتی) (born December 25, 1975) is an Iranian American computational biologist, medical geneticist and evolutionary geneticist, who developed a bioinformatic statistical method which identifies sections of the genome that have been subject to natural selection and an algorithm which explains the effects of genetics on the evolution of disease.[1][2][3][4]

Sabeti is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and on the faculty of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health at Harvard University and is a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute.

Sabeti was born in 1975 in Tehran, Iran.[6] Sabeti studied biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1997 where she was a Teaching Assistant and the Class President[7], and was then a Rhodes Scholar in Biological Anthropology and Evolutionary Genetics at University of Oxford and completed her Doctorate in 2002, and graduated summa cum laude with a Doctor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School in 2006.[8] She has received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences.[9] Sabeti is the 2012 Telesio Galilei Academy of Science Laureate for Biology.

As a postdoctoral fellow with Eric Lander at the Broad Institute, Sabeti modified a family of previously developed statistical tests for positive selection that look for common genetic variants found on unusually long haplotypes. Her test, known as the cross population extended haplotype homozygosity test, or XP-EHH, was designed to detect advantageous mutations whose frequency in human populations has risen rapidly over the last 10,000 years.

The XP-EHH test, in combination with existing methods, recovered several known targets of recent natural selection, and suggested several novel targets. She also identified two variants in the genes LARGE and DMD, known to be involved in infection by Lassa fever, that show strong signals of natural selection in West Africans

Dr. Pardis Sabeti is an Assistant Professor at the Center for Systems Biology at Harvard University, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, and a Senior Associate Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Dr. Sabeti is a computational geneticist with expertise studying genetic diversity, developing algorithms to detect genetic signatures of natural selection, and carrying out genetic association studies. Sabeti completed her undergraduate degree at MIT and continued her education at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, before returning to earn her medical degree from Harvard Medical School as a Soros Fellow where she was only the third woman to graduate summa cum laude. Her graduate work at Oxford University focused on host genetic factors in Plasmodium falciparum malaria susceptibility and studying patterns of genetic diversity to identify rapidly evolving genes. At Harvard, she has developed novel methods to detect natural selection, and applied it to the entire human genome, finding many new evidence of human evolution.

Dr. Sabeti is currently supported by a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award, a Packard Foundation Fellowship in Science and Engineering, and an NIH Innovator award, and awards from NIAID, TMTI, and the Gates Foundation. Dr. Sabeti is also the lead singer of the alternative rock band Thousand Days.


Human evolutionary genomics: ethical and interpretive issues. Trends Genet. [Epub ahead of print]
Joseph J. Vitti, Mildred K. Cho, Sarah A. Tishkoff, Pardis C. Sabeti

Detecting novel associations in large datasets.
Science 334:1518-1524
David N. Reshef, Yakir A. Reshef, Hilary K. Finucane, Sharon R. Grossman, Gilean McVean, Peter J. Turnbaugh, Eric S. Lander, Michael Mitzenmacher, Pardis C. Sabeti

A global transcriptional analysis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria reveals a novel family of telomere-associated lncRNAs. Genome Biol 12(6): R56.

Kate M. Broadbent, Daniel Park, Ashley R. Wolf, Daria Van Tyne, Jennifer S. Sims, Ulf Ribacke, Sarah Volkman, Manoj Duraisingh, Dyann Wirth, Pardis C. Sabeti and John L. Rinn

Identification and functional validation of the novel antimalarial resistance locus PF10_0355 in Plasmodium falciparum. PLoS Genet 7(4): e1001383.
Daria Van Tyne, Daniel J. Park, Stephen F. Schaffner, Daniel E. Neafsey, Elaine Angelino, Joseph F. Cortese, Kayla G. Barnes, David M. Rosen, Amanda K. Lukens, Rachel F. Daniels, Danny A. Milner Jr, Charles A. Johnson, Ilya Shlyakhter, Sharon R. Grossman, Justin S. Becker, Daniel Yamins, Elinor K. Karlsson, Daouda Ndiaye, Ousmane Sarr, Souleymane Mboup, Christian Happi, Nicholas A. Furlotte, Eleazar Eskin, Hyun Min Kang, Daniel L. Hartl, Bruce W. Birren, Roger C. Wiegand, Eric S. Lander, Dyann F. Wirth, Sarah K. Volkman, Pardis C. Sabeti.

Genome-sequencing Anniversary. The landscape of human evolution. Science 311:6018.
Pardis C Sabeti.

A composite of multiple signals distinguishes causal variants in regions of positive selection .
Science 327:883-886
Sharon R. Grossman, Ilya Shylakhter, Elinor K. Karlsson, Elizabeth H. Byrne, Shannon Morales, Gabriel Frieden, Elizabeth Hostetter, Elaine Angelino, Manuel Garber, Or Zuk, Eric S. Lander, Stephen F. Schaffner, Pardis C. Sabeti

Detecting recent positive selection in the human genome from haplotype structure.
Nature 419:832-837
Pardis C. Sabeti, David E. Reich, John M. Higgins, Haninah Z. P. Levine, Daniel J. Richter, Stephen F. Schaffner, Stacey B. Gabriel, Jill V. Platko, Nick J. Patterson, Gavin J. McDonald, Hans C. Ackerman, Sarah J. Campbell, David Altshuler, Richard Cooper, Dominic Kwiatkowski, Ryk Ward & Eric S. Lander.
pardis |at|
(617) 384-5335

Ahura Mazda

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