Dr. Pardis Sabeti is smiling at the camera. She has medium length, wavy, brown-blonde hair and is wearing a black blouse.
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Dr. Pardis Sabeti, MD: DPhil Professor, Harvard University & Harvard School of Public Health; Institute Member, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

The #SheInnovates stories team sat down with Dr. Pardis Sabeti, MD to discuss the role of women in innovation. Get involved at She Innovates Global.  

#SheInnovates Stories: Innovation is solving the world's problems. What problem are you solving?

Dr. Pardis Sabeti, MD: My lab works to develop computer and genomic tools to investigate infectious disease outbreaks, both before they occur and as they are occurring, to help create better diagnostics, vaccines and preventive measures.

#SheInnovates: When did you realize your innovation was a breakthrough?

PS: In the midst of the Ebola outbreak, I recognized that there was so much that needed to be done to solve outbreaks, and that the work we do in developing computational and genomic tools can help with that fight.

#SheInnovates: What were some unexpected obstacles you overcame in the innovation process?

PS: The international scientific community already possesses many of the tools and technologies needed to fight infectious disease outbreaks. One of the largest obstacles we have is learning how to bring them all together in a collective effort and leverage them to create a global pandemic preparedness system. My lab is working with great colleagues around the world to try to bring that to bear.

#SheInnovates: What inspires you to love your work?

PS: There are so many questions and challenges out there that need to be solved, and I love waking up in the morning and thinking that I can help play a small part in making the world a better place. I love working with colleagues and students who are talented, brilliant and good humans who inspire me every day.

#SheInnovates: What do you hope that young women coming behind you take from your work?

PS: That you can be successful while still maintaining your humanity and caring about your colleagues and students. It’s a challenging process, but I hope that I can play a small part in making the community open to all people.

#SheInnovates: Why are women in innovation important?

PS: It’s clear that no one perspective will ever solve the world’s greatest problems. Women have an incredibly important perspective to give. Ultimately, a diversity of opinions from all sorts of individuals of different genders, races and walks of life will be key to solving these important issues.

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Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity and length.