Pardis Sabeti

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Pardis C. Sabeti D.Phil. (Oxon), M.D.
(Persian: دکتر پردیس ثابتی‎‎)
Born (1975-12-25) 25 December 1975 (age 40)
Tehran, Iran
Fields Evolutionary genetics
Genetic epidemiology
Computational biology
Biological anthropology
Medical genetics
Institutions Harvard University
Broad Institute
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (S.B)
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 in Tehran, Iran) 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.[6] RNA changes suggests that the first human infection was followed by exclusive human to human transmissions.[7]

Sabeti is a full 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.[8] She is the head of the Sabeti Lab.[9]

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 TJHSST Freshman Research Statistics 1 course.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

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.[11][12] She had a sister, Parisa, who was 2 years older.[11] Growing up, Parisa taught Pardis the course material she had learned the year before in school, leading Pardis to be "almost two years ahead of her classmates" when the school year began.[11] Her family fled Iran in October 1978, shortly before the Iranian Revolution, when Sabeti was two years old,[13] and found sanctuary in Florida.[11] Growing up in Orlando,[14] Sabeti wanted to be a flower-shop owner, novelist, or doctor.[15] However, she was most passionate about math.[15] Throughout her childhood and into college, Sabeti played competitive tennis.[16]

Sabeti went to Trinity Preparatory School in Central Florida. In high school, she was a National Merit Scholar and participated on USA Today’s All-USA High School Academic Team.[11]

Sabeti went on to study biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was a member of the varsity tennis team and class president, graduating in 1997 with a major in biology and a "perfect 5.0 average."[11] At MIT, she began her research career in David Bartel's laboratory[17] and also worked in Eric Lander's laboratory,[18] created the Freshman Leadership Program, and worked as a teaching assistant.[14] She 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, being the third woman to receive this honor since the school had begun accepting female students.[18][19] The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans supported her graduate studies.[18] Initially, Sabeti planned to enter medicine and become a doctor; however, she decided to pursue research instead after completing medical school and discovering she preferred research to medicine.[15]


Sabeti is an annual participant in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the acclaimed Research Science Institute at MIT for high school students. In May 2015, she delivered a TED Talk, called "How we'll fight the next deadly virus."[20]


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][21][22] 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),[23] and a family of statistical tests to detect and characterize correlations in datasets of any kind, maximal information non-parametic exploration (MINE).[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

Sabeti was the 2012 recipient of Smithsonian magazine's American Ingenuity Award in the Natural Sciences category. In 2014, she received the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science.[24] She has also received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences,[25] a Packard Foundation award in Science and Engineering,[21] and an NIH Director's New Innovator Award.[22]

In addition to being named one of TIME Magazine's Persons of the Year in 2015 (Ebola Fighters), Sabeti was listed as one of TIME magazine's 100 most influential people in 2015.[26]

In 2015, Sabeti was selected for the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator award.[27]

Personal life[edit]

Sabeti is the lead singer and writer for the rock band Thousand Days.[5][28][29]

In September 2012, Sabeti married John Rinn, who serves as assistant professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at Harvard University.[30]

In her spare time, Sabeti enjoys playing volleyball and participates in Harvard's summer volleyball league.[31]

On July 17, 2015, Sabeti suffered a car accident.[16] She was thrown from an ATV over a cliff and into a boulder, causing her to be severely injured and hospitalized for several months.[16] She completed rehab to return to teaching.[16]


  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. 
  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 2687721free to read. PMID 17943131. 
  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 3325791free to read. PMID 22174245. 
  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. ^ Kolata, Gina (2014-12-01). "Sifting Through Genes in Search of Answers on Ebola". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  7. ^ Single animal to human transmission event responsible for 2014 Ebola outbreak NIH press release, August 29, 2014
  8. ^ "FAS Center for Systems Biology, Harvard University". 
  9. ^ "Sabeti Lab". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  10. ^ "Annenberg Learner". 
  11. ^ a b c d e f "Pardis Sabeti, the Rollerblading Rock Star Scientist of Harvard | Science & Nature | Smithsonian Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  12. ^ "Dr. Pardis Sabeti is a proud member of PAAIA". 
  13. ^ "Medical & Musical Journeys: An Interview with One of Time's Persons of the Year, Pardis Sabeti". The Huffington Post. 2016-02-10. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  14. ^ a b "Three from MIT Named Rhodes, Marshall Scholars - The Tech". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  15. ^ a b c "Pardis Sabeti Profile". The Rhodes Project. Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  16. ^ a b c d "Fifteen Professors to Meet | Magazine | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  17. ^ Sabeti PC, Unrau PJ, Bartel DP (1997). "Accessing rare activities from random RNA sequences: the importance of the length of molecules in the starting pool.". Chem Biol. 4 (10): 767–74. doi:10.1016/s1074-5521(97)90315-x. PMID 9375255. 
  18. ^ a b c Oskin, Becky (2006-06-14). "Burroughs Wellcome Fund Awardee Profile of Pardis Sabeti". Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  19. ^ "Broad scientist Pardis Sabeti receives prestigious research awards | Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  20. ^ Sabeti, Pardis. "How we'll fight the next deadly virus". Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  21. ^ a b "Packard Foundation Fellowship Directory: Pardis Sabeti". Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  22. ^ a b "Iranian Scientist Wins NIH 2009 Innovator Award". 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ "The Vilcek Foundation -". Retrieved 2015-12-09. 
  25. ^ Davis, Nicole (2006-06-14). "Broad scientist Pardis Sabeti receives prestigious research awards". Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  26. ^ J. Craig Venter (April 16, 2015), "The 100 Most Influential People: Pardis Sabeti", Time 
  27. ^ "HHMI Selects 26 of the Nation's Top Biomedical Scientists". 2015-05-19. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  28. ^ Kahn, Joseph (2008-06-14). "Infectious melodies". Retrieved 2012-06-14. 
  29. ^ "bio". thousand days. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  30. ^ "Iranian scientist is one of Time's Persons of the Year |". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 
  31. ^ "Pardis Sabeti: Cell Press". Retrieved 2016-05-28. 

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