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Genetic ‘Trailblazer’ Pardis Sabeti to Lecture at Cedar Crest College

Pardis SabetiPardis Sabeti, Ph.D., an assistant professor of organismal and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, will present a lecture titled, “Biology Seminar: Evolutionary Forces in Humans and Pathogens,” at Cedar Crest College on Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 4 p.m. in Oberkotter Center, Room 1. The event is free and open to the public, though it is most appropriate for those with an understanding of college-level biology.

Sabeti is credited with developing the “Cross-Population Extended-Haplotype-Homozygosity” Test. When natural selection acts on traits, it leaves a variety of signatures in the patterns of DNA sequence variation among individuals. Sabeti came up with a powerful way to infer natural selection by looking at multiple kinds of signatures. She used this method to reconfirm previously identified targets of natural selection in humans, as well as to identify previously unknown targets of selection, namely genes that are associated with protection against organisms that cause malaria and Lassa fever.

In the case of Lassa fever, Sabeti found two genes involved in muscle function that were under strong selection in regions where the disease is prevalent. Because there is an arms race between hosts and pathogens, she also studies natural selection acting on the disease-causing organisms.

Sabeti was named one of “8 Geniuses That Will Change Your Life” by CNN.com; one of “100 Top Living Geniuses” by the UK Daily Telegraph; a Science Spectrum magazine “Trailblazer;” and a Seed magazine “Revolutionary Mind.” She is an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. She earned her undergraduate degree from MIT, her master’s and doctorate of philosophy from University of Oxford, and medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

For information about this lecture contact 610-606-4666, ext. 3513.