October 20, 2020 – Two Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health faculty members, Marc Lipsitch and Pardis Sabeti, have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Membership is considered one of the highest honors in the fields of health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievements and commitment to service.
Lipsitch is a professor of epidemiology with a primary appointment in the Department of Epidemiology and a joint appointment in the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. He also directs the School’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. Lipsitch’s research concerns the effect of naturally acquired host immunity, vaccine-induced immunity, and other public health interventions, such as antimicrobial use, on the population biology of pathogens and the consequences of changing pathogen populations for human health. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lipsitch has been at the forefront of the School’s public response, keeping policymakers, the public, and the scientific community informed about the trajectory of the pandemic and ways to stop its spread. NAM recognized Lipsitch for making major immunologic, genomic, and evolutionary advances in understanding pneumococcal biology, contributing to defining influenza seasonality mechanisms, and making large contributions to computational and statistical methods for vaccine evaluation.
Sabeti is a professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Chan School. She is also a professor at the Harvard FAS Center for Systems Biology and the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, an institute member of the Broad Institute, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Her lab focuses on developing new analytical and genomic methods to study evolutionary adaptation and genetic diversity in humans and pathogens, with three current research foci: identifying and characterizing the underlying adaptive changes that have shaped the human species over time; investigating genetic diversity in pathogens such as Lassa virus, Ebola virus, Zika virus, and Babesia microti, with the goal of improving diagnostics, surveillance, and interventions; and developing novel tools to detect and diagnose microbes causing human morbidity and mortality. NAM recognized Sabeti for her leadership in generating and releasing the first viral genome data during the 2013–2016 West African Ebola outbreak to advance countermeasures in the response, and noted that her team’s work in genomics, information theory, diagnostics, rural surveillance, and education have further contributed to efforts to combat Zika, Lassa, Ebola, malaria, and many other infectious diseases.
The National Academy of Medicine is an independent organization of professionals from diverse fields including health and medicine; the natural, social, and behavioral sciences; and beyond. It serves alongside the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering as an adviser to the nation and the international community.
Read the National Academy of Medicine press release: National Academy of Medicine Elects 100 New Members