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

Protein signatures of APOE and cognitive aging
09/30/2018 - 05/31/2023 (PI)
NIH/National Institute on Aging

Longevity Consortium
09/30/2018 - 05/31/2023 (PI)
Sutter Bay Hospitals dba California Pacific Medical Center NIH NIA

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

Candidate protective factors for age-associated diseases (target discovery) or factors indicative of healthy aging
09/15/2016 - 09/15/2019 (PI)
Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research

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

The Long Life Family Study
06/01/2014 - 05/31/2019 (PI)
Boston Medical Center Corporation NIH NIA

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

Showing 10 of 19 results. Show All Results

Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2018 Protein Signatures of APOE2 and Cognitive Aging 1R01AG061844-01
2018 APOE alleles and extreme human longevity 5R21AG056630-02
2018 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-14 93
2017 APOE alleles and extreme human longevity 1R21AG056630-01
2017 Biomarker Profiles of Sickle Cell Disease 5R21HL128871-02 2
2017 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-13 93
2016 Biomarker Profiles of Sickle Cell Disease 1R21HL128871-01A1 2
2016 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 5T32GM074905-12 93
2015 Interdisciplinary Training for Biostatisticians 2T32GM074905-11 93
2014 Effect of non genetic factors on genetic signatures of complex traits 5R21HL114237-03 12
Showing 10 of 17 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. Santanasto AJ, Marron MM, Boudreau RM, Feitosa MF, Wojczynski MK, Arbeev KG, Thyagarajan B, Schupf N, Stallard E, Sebastiani P, Cosentino S, Christensen K, Newman AB. Prevalence, Incidence and Risk Factors for Overall, Physical and Cognitive Independence among those from exceptionally long-lived families: The Long Life Family Study. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2019 May 14. PMID: 31086986.
  2. Kartha VK, Sebastiani P, Kern JG, Zhang L, Varelas X, Monti S. CaDrA: A Computational Framework for Performing Candidate Driver Analyses Using Genomic Features. Front Genet. 2019; 10:121.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30838036.
  3. Marron MM, Miljkovic I, Boudreau RM, Christensen K, Feitosa MF, Lee JH, Sebastiani P, Thyagarajan B, Wojczynski MK, Zmuda JM, Newman AB. A novel healthy metabolic phenotype developed among a cohort of families enriched for longevity. Metabolism. 2019 May; 94:28-38. PMID: 30710575.
  4. Gurinovich A, Bae H, Farrell JJ, Andersen SL, Monti S, Puca A, Atzmon G, Barzilai N, Perls TT, Sebastiani P. PopCluster: an algorithm to identify genetic variants with ethnicity-dependent effects. Bioinformatics. 2019 Jan 08.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30624692.
  5. 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. 2019 Jan 01; 74(1):108-113.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29931286.
  6. 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. 2019 Jan 01; 74(1):44-51.View Related Profiles. PMID: 30060062.
  7. 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. 2018 Oct 08; 73(11):1439-1447.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28977569.
  8. Nebbia, G., Nussbaum, L., Helmkamp, A., Andersen, S. L.., Perls, T.T., Sebastiani, P. Manual and Automated Procedures for Compiling a Very Large Sample of Centenarian Pedigrees. North American Actuarial Journal. 2018; 1-9.
  9. Zeng Y, Nie C, Min J, Chen H, Liu X, Ye R, Chen Z, Bai C, Xie E, Yin Z, Lv Y, Lu J, Li J, Ni T, Bolund L, Land KC, Yashin A, O'Rand AM, Sun L, Yang Z, Tao W, Gurinovich A, Franceschi C, Xie J, Gu J, Hou Y, Liu X, Xu X, Robine JM, Deelen J, Sebastiani P, Slagboom E, Perls T, Hauser E, Gottschalk W, Tan Q, Christensen K, Shi X, Lutz M, Tian XL, Yang H, Vaupel J. Sex Differences in Genetic Associations With Longevity. JAMA Netw Open. 2018 Aug; 1(4).View Related Profiles. PMID: 30294719.
  10. 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 09; 72:1-9.View Related Profiles. PMID: 29778312.
Showing 10 of 223 results. Show More

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

Bar chart showing 219 publications over 31 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
Contact for Mentoring:

801 Massachusetts Ave Crosstown Center
Boston MA 02118
Google Map

Sebastiani's Networks
Click the "See All" links for more information and interactive visualizations
Similar People
Same Department