Using Genetics to Trace Human History

Science for the Public: Working Science
July 08, 2016 at the Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA

Nick Patterson, Ph.D., Senior Computational Biologist in the Medical and Population Genetics Program at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and visiting scientist and a research fellow in genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. His work involves applying new statistical methodologies to complex genetic data.

In this video, Dr. Patterson focuses on the genetic tracing of ancient human migrations, especially the group known as the Indo-Europeans. Developments in genetics and mathematical modeling is being used to verify the different populations in Bronze Age Europe.

Prior to his career in genetics research, Patterson enjoyed two successful careers based in applied mathematics. For 20 years, he worked as a cryptographer for the British, then the U.S. code-breaking agencies to decipher and encrypt highly confidential communications. He spent the next ten years with Renaissance Technologies, an investment hedge fund, building mathematical models for market prediction. In 2001, Patterson joined the Whitehead Institute /MIT Center for Genome Research. He briefly worked on gene expression data applied to cancer before switching to the study of human genetics.

Articles about research by Dr. Patterson and his colleagues: