Paola Sebastiani, PhD
Boston University School of Public Health
Dept of Biostatistics

PhD, University of Rome
MSc, University College London (UCL)

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.

Boston Medical Center

Boston University
Bioinformatics Graduate Program

2017 ASA Fellow
2011 Boston University School of Public Health: Teaching Award
2009 Boston University School of Public Health: Teaching Award
2005 Boston University School of Public Health: Teaching Award

Boston OAIC: A Translational Approach to Function Promoting Therapies
07/01/2016 - 06/30/2021 (PI)
The Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc. NIH NIA

New England Centenarian Study
07/01/2016 - 06/30/2020 (Co-PI)
PI: Thomas T. Perls, MD, MPH, FACP
The William M. Wood Foundation

Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians
07/01/2015 - 06/30/2020 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences

Biomarker Profiles of Sickle Cell Disease
08/03/2016 - 06/30/2019 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

APOE Alleles and Extreme Human Longevity
09/15/2017 - 05/31/2019 (PI)
NIH/National Institute on Aging

Severity Index for Sickle Cell anemia in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia
01/01/2013 - 12/31/2018 (Co-PI)
PI: Martin H. Steinberg, MD
King Faisal University

Candidate protective factors for age-associated diseases (target discovery) or factors indicative of healthy aging
09/15/2016 - 09/15/2018 (PI)
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

The Long Life Family Study
06/01/2014 - 05/31/2018 (PI)
Boston Medical Center Corporation NIH NIA

Subphenotypes of Exceptional Longevity and Environmental and Genetic Associations
09/30/2011 - 06/30/2016 (PI)
Boston Medical Center Corporation NIH NIA

Effect of non genetic factors on genetic signatures of complex traits
02/16/2012 - 01/31/2016 (PI)
NIH/National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Showing 10 of 17 results. Show All Results

Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2018 APOE alleles and extreme human longevity 5R21AG056630-02
2018 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-14 58
2017 APOE alleles and extreme human longevity 1R21AG056630-01
2017 Biomarker Profiles of Sickle Cell Disease 5R21HL128871-02
2016 Biomarker Profiles of Sickle Cell Disease 1R21HL128871-01A1
2016 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-12 58
2014 Effect of non genetic factors on genetic signatures of complex traits 5R21HL114237-03 10
2014 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-10 58
2013 Effect of non genetic factors on genetic signatures of complex traits 5R21HL114237-02 10
2013 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-09 58
Showing 10 of 14 results. Show All Results
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Sebastiani P, Gurinovich A, Nygaard M, Sasaki T, Sweigart B, Bae H, Andersen SL, Villa F, Atzmon G, Christensen K, Arai Y, Barzilai N, Puca A, Christiansen L, Hirose N, Perls TT. APOE Alleles and Extreme Human Longevity. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Jul 27.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30060062.
  2. Andersen SL, Sweigart B, Sebastiani P, Drury J, Sidlowski S, Perls TT. Reduced Prevalence and Incidence of Cognitive Impairment Among Centenarian Offspring. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Jun 20.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29931286.
  3. Du M, Van Ness S, Gordeuk V, Nouraie SM, Nekhai S, Gladwin M, Steinberg MH, Sebastiani P. Biomarker signatures of sickle cell disease severity. Blood Cells Mol Dis. 2018 Sep; 72:1-9.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29778312.
  4. Denis GV, Sebastiani P, Bertrand KA, Strissel KJ, Tran AH, Slama J, Medina ND, Andrieu G, Palmer JR. Inflammatory signatures distinguish metabolic health in African American women with obesity. PLoS One. 2018; 13(5):e0196755.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29738558.
  5. Marone S, Bloore K, Sebastiani P, Flynn C, Leonard B, Whitaker K, Mostowy M, Perls T, Andersen SL. Purpose in Life Among Centenarian Offspring. J Gerontol B Psychol Sci Soc Sci. 2018 Mar 07.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29522128.
  6. 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. 2018 01; 36(1):43-53.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28837423.
  7. Du M., Van Ness S., Gordeuk V. R., Gladwin M. T, Sebastiani S., Steinberg M. H. Blood. Biomarker Signatures of Sickle Cell Disease Severity. American Society of Hematology. 2017; 130(Suppl. 1):690-690.
  8. Sebastiani P, Gurinovich A, Bae H, Andersen SL, Perls TT. Assortative Mating by Ethnicity in Longevous Families. Front Genet. 2017; 8:186.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29209360.
  9. Sebastiani P. and Palmer L. Wiley StatsRef-Statistics Reference Online. Human Genome Project. Wiley. New York. 2017; Online 1-6. View Publication
  10. 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 Oct 12; 72(11):1453-1464.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28329165; DOI: 10.1093/gerona/glx027;.
Showing 10 of 217 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 213 publications over 30 distinct years, with a maximum of 18 publications in 2012

In addition to these self-described keywords below, a list of MeSH based concepts is available here.

Bayesian Modeling of genetic and genomic data
Design of Experiments
Machine Learning
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