Sharon Moalem

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Sharon Moalem
BornMontréal, Canada
OccupationPhysician, Scientist, Author
Alma materUniversity of Guelph
University of Toronto
Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Notable worksSurvival of the Sickest
How Sex Works

Sharon Moalem is an American physician, scientist, and bestselling author.[1][2] Dr. Moalem is an expert in the fields of rare diseases, neurogenetics, and biotechnology.[1][3][4] He is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Survival of the Sickest, as well as How Sex Works and Inheritance. [5][6] His clinical genetics research led to the discovery of three rare genetic syndromes, hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia-renal defect syndrome, and a form of XX male sex reversal as well as a nephronopthisis associated ciliopathy.[7][8][9][10][11] Moalem has cofounded two biotechnology companies and has been awarded 25 patents for his inventions in biotechnology and human health.[2][3][12][13]


Moalem earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Human Physiology specializing in Neurogenetics from the University of Toronto.[14] He completed his Doctor of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. As a college student, Dr. Moalem worked with the King of Thailand Bhumibol Adulyadej to help improve the care of young children at an HIV-positive orphanage.[15] In this capacity Dr. Moalem worked in HIV prevention for the Population and Community Development Association (PDA) and was responsible for the operations of the Tarn Nam Jai HIV+ Orphanage in Bangkok, Thailand.[15]

His research in neurogenetics led to the discovery of new genetic associations for familial Alzheimer's disease.[2][5] He was previously the Associate Editor of the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.[12] Dr. Moalem’s scientific work, based upon using rare conditions as a template to understand more common conditions, led to the discovery of Siderocillin a new antibiotic that specifically targets so called ‘superbugs’ or multiresistant microbes.[2][12][16]

Moalem was the lead author on the paper that first described the condition hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia-renal defect syndrome (HLTRS) that resulted from a heterozygous mutation in the SOX18 gene.[17] The SOX18 gene has a major role in the formation of blood and lymphatic vessels but prior to the description of HLTRS was not understood to be involved in renal function. His clinical research also led to the description of an SRY negative type of XX male sex reversal that resulted from a duplication of the SOX3 gene found on the X chromosome.[18] The SOX3 gene encodes a protein that is similar but distinct to the testis-determining factor (TDF), also known as sex-determining region Y (SRY) protein that is found on the Y chromosome.[19]

He has founded two biotechnology companies, Sideromics LLC and Recognyz System Technology, founded to develop treatments for the health effects experiences by persons with rare diseases.[20][12] Moalem has also been awarded 25 patents for inventions related to biotechnology and human health.[21][12]

In March 2014, Dr. Moalem and his team won a hackathon at MIT to build a smartphone app that can be used to treat patients by identifying predispositions to certain diseases based on facial structure.[22]

Dr. Moalem is a frequent keynote speaker on the topics of genetics and personalized medicine and has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and NPR's Diane Rehm.[2][3][23][24]


Survival of the Sickest[edit]

Dr. Moalem's first book Survival of the Sickest was published in 2007 by William Morrow (HarperCollins). The book, co-written by Jonathan Prince, lays out eight case studies revolving around the argument that common hereditary diseases exist because at one point they were an adaptive advantage for our ancestors.[3] One proposed hypothesis is that water induced wrinkling of skin is an adaptation to improve traction in wet or slippery environments. Research has subsequently shown this to be likely the case.[25][1][26]

The book debuted on the New York Times bestselling book list in hardcover nonfiction.[27]

How Sex Works[edit]

In April 2009, Dr. Moalem's second book How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do was published by HarperCollins.[28] The book examines the scientific reasons why people are attracted to one another.[5] The topics covered include the evolutionary underpinnings of sexual attraction, monogamy, and sexual orientation.[29][6][30]


Moalem's latest book, Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives—And Our Lives Change Our Genes was published by Grand Central Publishing in April 2014.[31] The book, co-written by journalist Matthew D. LaPlante, unpacks emerging research into the flexible genome, which is "mediated and orchestrated by how you live, where you live, the stresses you face, and the things you consume,” promising a future in which people will make health decisions not based on what is good for most of the people most of the time, but rather what is genetically best for each individual based on their specific genetic and epigenetic profile. Inheritance was named one of Amazon's Best Science Books of 2014.[32]


  1. ^ a b c Blakeslee, Sandra. "New Theory Places Origin of Diabetes in an Age of Icy Hardships". New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e Stewart, Jon. "Dr. Sharon Moalem". The Daily Show.
  3. ^ a b c d "Why we need disease". Today.
  4. ^ Velasquez-Manoff, Moises (May 1, 2014). "Gene Persuasion". Scientific American. 25 (3): 72. doi:10.1038/scientificamericanmind0514-72b.
  5. ^ a b c Cruz, Gilbert. "How Sex Works". Time.
  6. ^ a b Harris, Lynn. "Lynn Harris Reviews 'Behind the Bedroom Door,' 'How Sex Works,'". Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Hypotrichosis-Lymphedema-Telangiectasia-Renal Defect Syndrome". The University of Arizona Health Sciences.
  8. ^ Moalem S, Brouillard P, Kuypers D, Legius E, Harvey E, Taylor G, Francois M, Vikkula M, Chitayat D. (2015). "Hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia-renal defect associated with a truncating mutation in the SOX18 gene". Clinical Genetics. 87 (4): 378–82. doi:10.1111/cge.12388. PMID 24697860.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Robb, Peter. "Genetic science is transforming health care and introducing ethical dilemmas". Ottawa Citizen.
  10. ^ "Ripped Genes: Let's Talk Orphan Diseases". Medium.
  11. ^ Human Disease Database. "Hypotrichosis-Lymphedema-Telangiectasia-Renal Defect Syndrome".
  12. ^ a b c d e "Sharon Moalem". LinkedIn.
  13. ^ Shank, David. "The Genius in All of Us". Apple Podcasts.
  14. ^ Oz, Mehmet. "The Benefits of Disease". Oprah.
  15. ^ a b "Featured Profile: Dr. Sharon Moalem". CPBN. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02.
  16. ^ "Profile: Sharon Moalem". Amazon.
  17. ^ Moalem S, Brouillard P, Kuypers D, Legius E, Harvey E, Taylor G, Francois M, Vikkula M, Chitayat D. (2015). "Hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia-renal defect associated with a truncating mutation in the SOX18 gene". Clinical Genetics. 87 (4): 378–82. doi:10.1111/cge.12388. PMID 24697860.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Moalem S, Babul-Hirji R, Stavropolous DJ, Wherrett D, Bägli DJ, Thomas P, Chitayat D (2012). "XX male sex reversal with genital abnormalities associated with a de novo SOX3 gene duplication". American Journal of Medical Genetics. 158 (7): 1759–64. doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.35390. PMID 22678921.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ Waters PD, Wallis MC, Marshall Graves JA. (2007). "Mammalian sex--Origin and evolution of the Y chromosome and SRY". Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. 18 (3): 389–400. doi:10.1016/j.semcdb.2007.02.007. PMID 17400006.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ "Sharon Moalem". Mendeley.
  21. ^ Essert, Matt. "This App Will Soon Detect Your Genetic Diseases — Based Only on a Picture". MIC.
  22. ^ Love, Dylan. "A Doctor Is Building A Powerful Smartphone App That 'Can Tell You If Your Mother Drank While She Was Pregnant With You'". Business Insider.
  23. ^ "Dr. Sharon Moalem". Harper Collins Speaker Bureau.
  24. ^ Rehm, Diane. "Sharon Moalem: "Survival of the Sickest"". The Diane Rehm Show.
  25. ^ "Water-induced finger wrinkles improve handling of wet objects". Royal Society Publishing.
  26. ^ Lee, Adam. "Book Review: Survival of the Sickest". Patheos.
  27. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction". New York Times.
  28. ^ Winter, Jessica. "Between the Covers". Oprah.
  29. ^ "EXCERPT: 'How Sex Works'". ABC News.
  30. ^ Miller, Jen A. "Review: 'How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do,' by Dr. Sharon Moalem". Tampa Bay Times. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02.
  31. ^ Velasquez-Manoff, Moises. "MIND Reviews: Inheritance". Scientific American.
  32. ^ Leopold, Todd. "Amazon picks the 100 best books of 2014". CNN.

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