Skip to content

Pardis Sabeti's New Look at Infectious Disease

This remarkable Harvard scientist is looking to the human genome to provide better diagnostics for deadly diseases.


Conversation Club

  1. Pardis Sabeti thinks that ingenuity involves solving a problem from a different angle. What do you think this means? Have you ever seen an example of that type of problem solving?
  2. As part of her research, Sabeti travels to Africa. Why do you think that studying the human genome, and specifically genomes affected by specific diseases, would benefit from direct access to human populations around the world? Can you think of other types of academic research where traveling to different parts of the world would be useful?
  3. Sabeti explains that she became deathly ill on one of her first trips to Africa. What do you think this says about her willingness to take risks for her work? Can you think of an example of a risk that you have taken in order to do something you love or are passionate about?
  4. Sabeti explains that her research regarding the human genome helps her better understand human history. How do you think this works? How do you think examining which genes are passed down from generation to generation could help explain events in history?
  5. Sabeti lists the various infectious diseases that she studies, and one of them is Ebola. Based on this video, how do you think her diagnostic work might have been helpful during the Ebola outbreak in 2014?
  6. Sabeti talks about her passion for music. From what she says in this video, how has music helped her in her scientific career? What kinds of things help you pursue your passions?
  7. The work of a scientist is described in this video as being “paid to solve puzzles,” except that when the puzzle is complete something totally new about humanity has been discovered. What do you think of this description of being a scientist? Are there examples in your life where you feel like you are solving puzzles, and do you enjoy that?
  8. Sabeti feels that her job is the “perfect one, that was made for her.” What kinds of activities do you enjoy? If you were to describe the perfect job for yourself what would it be and why?

Video Series

This video exists as part of a series gathered around the theme of Environment & STEM. Other videos in this series are listed below.

Can Ocean Optimism Save our Seas?
Can Ocean Optimism Save our Seas?
What is the Future of Nature?
What is the Future of Nature?
Hugh Herr’s Bionic Future
Hugh Herr’s Bionic Future
Why Scan a 3-D Dinosaur?
Why Scan a 3-D Dinosaur?
Pardis Sabeti's New Look at Infectious Disease
Pardis Sabeti's New Look at Infectious Disease
Visualizing One Earth
Visualizing One Earth
Best Views of the Grand Canyon
Best Views of the Grand Canyon
Can We Solve Climate Change?
Can We Solve Climate Change?
Jack Andraka's Pancreatic Cancer Breakthrough
Jack Andraka's Pancreatic Cancer Breakthrough