Posted by: Academy of Achievement | 03/21/2011

Pardis Sabeti, Class of 2000

Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University

It has been over a decade since the Academy of Achievement Summit in 2000 in London, when I was just starting medical school, and trying to finish my PhD at Oxford.

Years later, and I am an Assistant Professor at Harvard University in Systems Biology and Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. My work is at the intersection of medicine and research, and gives me opportunities to collaborate with great scientists from around the world.

If I had to summarize my work I would say we are a genomics and infectious disease lab with 3 main goals: (1) Developing analytical methods to detect and characterize evolutionary adaptations in humans; (2) Examining host and viral genetic factors driving disease susceptibility to the devastating and deadly disease widespread in West Africa, Lassa hemorrhagic fever virus; (3) Investigating the genomes of microbes, including Lassa virus, Ebola virus, and Plasmodium falciparum malaria to help in the development of intervention strategies.

My work on Lassa fever connects me to my wonderful collaborators in Nigeria. As this picture shows, they are not only great researchers but great friends. Here we all are singing a song written by my band; they gave the song a whole new life with their beautiful voices.

I am inspired each day by my great collaborators abroad and my amazing students. My lab is like my family, and we are working together through many obstacles driven by a shared goal of bring research to bear on the world’s deadliest diseases. And while our work is serious, it is also a lot of fun. Here is a snapshot of this wonderful family from our 2010 lab holiday card.

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