Pardis Sabeti

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Pardis C. Sabeti D.Phil. (Oxon), M.D.
Pardis Sabeti - PopTech 2011 - Camden Maine USA.jpg
Pardis Sabeti at PopTech 2011.
Born (1975-12-25)25 December 1975
Tehran, Iran
Fields Evolutionary genetics
Genetic epidemiology
Computational biology
Biological anthropology
Medical genetics
Institutions Harvard University
Broad Institute
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (B.Sc.)
University of Oxford (M.Sc.), (D.Phil.)
Harvard Medical School (M.D.)
Notable awards Rhodes Scholarship

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][5]

In 2014, Sabeti headed a group which used advanced genomic sequencing technology to identify a single point of infection from an animal reservoir to a human in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. RNA changes suggests that the first human infection was followed by exclusive human to human transmissions.[6]

Sabeti is an associate professor in the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and on the faculty of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health, and is a senior associate member at the Broad Institute.[7]

Sabeti also is the current host of the educational series "Against All Odds: Inside Statistics" sponsored by Annenberg Learner. Her show is included in many high school statistics curriculums, such as the Statistics 1 course.[7]


Sabeti was born in 1975 in Tehran, Iran to Nancy and Parviz Sabeti. Her father was the deputy in SAVAK, Iran's intelligence agency, and a high ranking security official in Shah's regime.[8][9] Her family fled Iran after the Islamic revolution in 1979 and found sanctuary first in Israel, where Parviz Sabeti became an officer of Mossad, and eventually, settled in Florida.[10][8]

Sabeti studied biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in 1997 where she was a member of the varsity tennis team and class president,[11] and was then a Rhodes Scholar at University of Oxford and completed her doctorate in evolutionary genetics in 2002, and graduated summa cum laude with a Doctor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 2006.[12] She has received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences,[13] a Packard Foundation award in Science and Engineering,[14] and an NIH Innovator Award.[15] Sabeti is also the lead singer and writer for the rock band Thousand Days.[5][16][17]

Sabeti is an annual participant in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the acclaimed Research Science Institute at MIT for high school students.


As a graduate student at Oxford and postdoctoral fellow with Eric Lander at the Broad Institute, Sabeti developed a family of statistical tests for positive selection that look for common genetic variants found on unusually long haplotypes. Her tests, extended haplotype homozygosity (EHH), the long-range haplotype (LRH) test, and cross population extended haplotype homozygosity (XP-EHH), are designed to detect advantageous mutations whose frequency in human populations has risen rapidly over the last 10,000 years.[1][2][14][15] As a faculty member at Harvard, Sabeti and her group have developed a statistical test to pinpoint signals of selection, the Composite of Multiple Signals (CMS),[18] and a family of statistical tests to detect and characterize correlations in datasets of any kind, maximal information non-parametic exploration (MINE).[3]


Sabeti was the 2012 recipient of Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award in the Natural Sciences category.


  1. ^ a b Sabeti, P. C.; Reich, D. E.; Higgins, J. M.; Levine, H. Z. P.; Richter, D. J.; Schaffner, S. F.; Gabriel, S. B.; Platko, J. V.; Patterson, N. J.; McDonald, G. J.; Ackerman, H. C.; Campbell, S. J.; Altshuler, D.; Cooper, R.; Kwiatkowski, D.; Ward, R.; Lander, E. S. (2002). "Detecting recent positive selection in the human genome from haplotype structure". Nature 419 (6909): 832–837. doi:10.1038/nature01140. PMID 12397357.  edit
  2. ^ a b Sabeti, Pardis C.; Varilly, Patrick; Fry, Ben; Lohmueller, Jason; Hostetter, Elizabeth; Cotsapas, Chris; Xie, Xiaohui; Byrne, Elizabeth H.; McCarroll, Steven A.; Gaudet, Rachelle; Schaffner, Stephen F.; Lander, Eric S.; The International HapMap Consortium; Frazer, Kelly A.; Ballinger, Dennis G.; Cox, David R.; Hinds, David A.; Stuve, Laura L.; Gibbs, Richard A.; Belmont, John W.; Boudreau, Andrew; Hardenbol, Paul; Leal, Suzanne M.; Pasternak, Shiran; Wheeler, David A.; Willis, Thomas D.; Yu, Fuli; Yang, Huanming; Zeng, Changqing Zeng; Gao, Yang (2007). "Genome-wide detection and characterization of positive selection in human populations". Nature 449 (7164): 913–918. doi:10.1038/nature06250. PMC 2687721. PMID 17943131.  edit
  3. ^ a b Reshef, D. N.; Reshef, Y. A.; Finucane, H. K.; Grossman, S. R.; McVean, G.; Turnbaugh, P. J.; Lander, E. S.; Mitzenmacher, M.; Sabeti, P. C. (2011). "Detecting Novel Associations in Large Data Sets". Science 334 (6062): 1518–1524. doi:10.1126/science.1205438. PMC 3325791. PMID 22174245.  edit
  4. ^ Deen, Lango (2005-07-25). "One-on-One with Pardis Sabeti". Science Spectrum Online. Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  5. ^ a b Furman, Eric (2007-07-16). "Geniuses who will change your life". Retrieved 2007-07-27. 
  6. ^ Single animal to human transmission event responsible for 2014 Ebola outbreak NIH press release, August 29, 2014
  7. ^ a b "FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University". 
  8. ^ a b "Pardis Sabeti, the Rollerblading Rock Star Scientist of Harvard | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  9. ^ "Dr. Pardis Sabeti is a proud member of PAAIA". 
  10. ^ Meet the ‘Beast of SAVAK’. By Wayne Madsen. Press TV, Oct 13, 2014.
  11. ^ "The Tech Massachusetts Institute of Technology online newspaper Volume 116: Issue 65: Tuesday, December 10, 1996". Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  12. ^ Oskin, Becky (2006-06-14). "Burroughs Wellcome Fund Awardee Profile of Pardis Sabeti". Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  13. ^ Davis, Nicole (2006-06-14). "Broad scientist Pardis Sabeti receives prestigious research awards". Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  14. ^ a b "Packard Foundation Fellowship Directory: Pardis Sabeti". Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  15. ^ a b "Iranian Scientist Wins NIH 2009 Innovator Award". 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  16. ^ Kahn, Joseph (2008-06-14). "Infectious melodies". Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  17. ^ "bio". thousand days. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  18. ^ Grossman, S. R.; Shlyakhter, I.; Karlsson, E. K.; Byrne, E. H.; Morales, S.; Frieden, G.; Hostetter, E.; Angelino, E.; Garber, M.; Zuk, O.; Lander, E. S.; Schaffner, S. F.; Sabeti, P. C. (2010). "A Composite of Multiple Signals Distinguishes Causal Variants in Regions of Positive Selection". Science 327 (5967): 883–886. doi:10.1126/science.1183863. PMID 20056855.  edit

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