Paola Sebastiani, PhD

Professor, Biostatistics
Paola Sebastiani
(617) 638-5877sebas@bu.edu
Crosstown Center – 317
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Biography

Paola Sebastiani, Ph.D. joined the Department of Biostatistics in 2003 as an Associate Professor, after holding faculty positions in Italy, England and United States. She is author of more than 200 peer-reviewed publications in theoretical and methodological statistics, artificial intelligence, computational biology and genetics. She is statistical consultant for Circulation and also a regular reviewer for major journals in statistics and computer science, and serves on the program committee of several international conferences at the interface between statistics and artificial intelligence. When she joined the Department of Biostatistics at Boston University in 2003, Dr. Sebastiani had experience in interdisciplinary collaborations and a track record of developing novel methodologies in Bayesian statistics, machine learning, decision theory, graphical modeling and statistical experimental design. She leveraged this experience to develop a wide network of collaborations with investigators from the Bioinformatics program, the Genetics and Genomics program, and the Molecular and Translational Medicine Program. In these collaborations Dr. Sebastiani often introduced original solutions by developing innovative Bayesian techniques for the analysis of genomic and genetic data and for the joint modeling of the genetic, genomic and phenotypic basis of complex traits. This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes for Health and is currently funded by grants of which Dr. Sebastiani is Principal Investigator. Her contributions include, among others, a Bayesian model-based clustering procedure of temporal expression profiles (CAGED), a robust Bayesian approach to analyze differential gene expression using model averaging (BADGE), and novel methods for analysis of genetic data. Dr. Sebastiani was a pioneer in using a Bayesian network approach to model the genetic and phenotypic basis of complications of sickle cell anemia. She developed the first network model for predicting stroke in patients with sickle cell anemia and a network-based prognostic model that integrates sub-phenotypes of sickle cell anemia patients into a score of the overall severity of disease. This model was successfully evaluated by independent investigators and has opened several new research areas in sickle cell disease. These results were the fruit of a long and productive collaboration with Dr. Steinberg to study the genetic basis of different clinical presentations of sickle cell disease. Dr. Sebastiani has also cultivated a strong and growing reputation as a biostatistician in the fields of gerontology, biology and epidemiology of human aging and longevity. She is the primary statistician of the BU site of the Long Life Family Study, and of the New England Centenarian Study directed by Dr. Thomas Perls. Dr. Sebastiani used an original Bayesian approach to verify the “compression of morbidity hypothesis” that had long been debated in the field of gerontology, developed a method for scoring sibships for familial longevity that can be used to enroll the most informative families in observational studies of human longevity, and introduced a novel Bayesian approach to model the genetic and phenotypic basis of exceptional human longevity. The analysis provides evidence that extreme human longevity is not due to absence of disease variants but to rare combinations of large numbers of common protective variants. Her current work focuses on the generation of molecular profiles to predict patterns of aging, and the biology of aging using a system-based approach.

Other Positions

  • Boston Medical Center
  • Member, Bioinformatics Graduate Program, Boston University

Education

  • University of Rome, PhD
  • University College London (UCL), MSc
  • University of Perugia, BSc

Classes Taught

  • SPHBS800
  • SPHBS806
  • SPHBS849
  • SPHBS852

Publications

  • Published on 8/25/2017

    Denis GV, Sebastiani P, Andrieu G, Tran AH, Strissel KJ, Lombardi FL, Palmer JR. Relationships Among Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Plasma Cytokines in African American Women. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Aug 25. PMID: 28840653.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/23/2017

    Marron MM, Singh J, Boudreau RM, Christensen K, Cosentino S, Feitosa MF, Minster RL, Perls T, Schupf N, Sebastiani P, Ukraintseva S, Wojczynski MK, Newman AB. A novel healthy blood pressure phenotype in the Long Life Family Study. J Hypertens. 2017 Aug 23. PMID: 28837423.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 8/11/2017

    Shaikho EM, Farrell JJ, Alsultan A, Qutub H, Al-Ali AK, Figueiredo MS, Chui DHK, Farrer LA, Murphy GJ, Mostoslavsky G, Sebastiani P, Steinberg MH. A phased SNP-based classification of sickle cell anemia HBB haplotypes. BMC Genomics. 2017 Aug 11; 18(1):608. PMID: 28800727.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/19/2017

    Shaikho EM, Farrell JJ, Alsultan A, Sebastiani P, Steinberg MH. Genetic determinants of HbF in Saudi Arabian and African Benin haplotype sickle cell anemia. Am J Hematol. 2017 Sep; 92(9):E555-E557. PMID: 28612458.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 7/18/2017

    Bae H, Gurinovich A, Malovini A, Atzmon G, Andersen SL, Villa F, Barzilai N, Puca A, Perls TT, Sebastiani P. Effects of FOXO3 Polymorphisms on Survival to Extreme Longevity in Four Centenarian Studies. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Jul 18. PMID: 28977569.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 5/1/2017

    Fagan E, Sun F, Bae H, Elo I, Andersen SL, Lee J, Christensen K, Thyagarajan B, Sebastiani P, Perls T, Honig LS, Schupf N. Telomere length is longer in women with late maternal age. Menopause. 2017 May; 24(5):497-501. PMID: 27922939.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 3/15/2017

    Sebastiani P, Gurinovich A, Bae H, Andersen S, Malovini A, Atzmon G, Villa F, Kraja AT, Ben-Avraham D, Barzilai N, Puca A, Perls TT. Four Genome-Wide Association Studies Identify New Extreme Longevity Variants. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Mar 15. PMID: 28329165.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/28/2017

    Sebastiani P, Bae H, Gurinovich A, Soerensen M, Puca A, Perls TT. Limitations and risks of meta-analyses of longevity studies. Mech Ageing Dev. 2017 Jul; 165(Pt B):139-146. PMID: 28143747.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/19/2017

    Park S, Gianotti-Sommer A, Molina-Estevez FJ, Vanuytsel K, Skvir N, Leung A, Rozelle SS, Shaikho EM, Weir I, Jiang Z, Luo HY, Chui DHK, Figueiredo MS, Alsultan A, Al-Ali A, Sebastiani P, Steinberg MH, Mostoslavsky G, Murphy GJ. A Comprehensive, Ethnically Diverse Library of Sickle Cell Disease-Specific Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Stem Cell Reports. 2017 Apr 11; 8(4):1076-1085. PMID: 28111279.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 1/6/2017

    Sebastiani P, Thyagarajan B, Sun F, Schupf N, Newman AB, Montano M, Perls TT. Biomarker signatures of aging. Aging Cell. 2017 Apr; 16(2):329-338. PMID: 28058805.

    Read at: PubMed

View 122 more publications:View full profile at BUMC

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