ه‍.ش. ۱۳۹۳ شهریور ۲۰, پنجشنبه

First Iranian Female Experts in Genetics: Pardis Sabeti


 Pardis Sabeti was born on 25 December 1975 in Iran, and immigrated to the US when she was three years old. In responding to what she was doing at age 9, she said in an interview that, "At 9, I think I had really gotten into tennis, I liked writing short stories, I loved solving math problems, I was learning a little piano, and I was collecting Garbage Pail Kids cards". Sabeti plays guitar and bass and is the lead singer of a rock band (see below).
 She is a geneticist who developed a statistical method which identifies sections of the genome that have been subjected to natural selection. Sabeti is an Assistant Professor in the Center for Systems Biology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She is rated 49th among Top 100 living geniuses (in Persian: Naabegheh) of the world by the Daily Telegraph, a British broadsheet newspaper.
 Sabeti completed her undergraduate degree at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and continued her education at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School where she was only the third woman ever to graduate with the Latin Honor of summa cum laude (the honor with supreme praise). She has also received a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in the Biomedical Sciences. (The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent private foundation dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities).
 Sabeti addressed the problem of telling whether a mutation is due to natural selection or just random. When humans are exposed to diseases, like malaria and Lassa fever, they evolve traits that resist those diseases, such as sickle cell trait. Biologists can tell from comparing DNA sequences in populations whether mutations were due to natural selection, but those methods would not work for evolutionary changes during the last ten thousand years, when diseases like malaria arose.
 Sabeti took advantage of the fact that genes on the same place in the chromosome are inherited together. If a particular variation is subject to natural selection, its frequency will increase, along with the frequency of genes that have hitchhiked along with it. She developed a test that would use this principle to tell whether recent changes were due to natural selection or just to a chance. She applied this test to malaria variants, and saw a whopping signal of positive selection. This research was published in Nature, a prominent scientific journal.
 Currently, she is studying the effect of natural selection on the human genome and the genomes of other organisms to uncover how humans and other species have adapted to their surroundings over time. In her spare time, Sabeti enjoys performing with her band Thousand Days, which recently won an honorable mention in Billboard's World Songwriting Contest for the track Headlight Waves. On 14 June 2008, the Boston Globe (the most widely circulated daily newspaper in Boston and in New England, US) published an article entitled as Infectious Melodies and wrote that, "Pardis Sabeti, a pioneering geneticist, has a second life as a singer and songwriter".

Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD