Sarah Tishkoff

University of Pennsylvania

Election Year: 2017
Primary Section: 51, Anthropology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Member


Sarah Tishkoff is a leading global expert in human evolutionary genetics. She is known particularly for her studies of African genomic diversity to better understand human evolution, adaptation, and disease. Dr. Tishkoff received a Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology and genetics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1989, a Master of Science degree in human genetics from Yale University in 1992, and a PhD in genetics from Yale University in 1996. Dr. Tishkoff was a postdoctoral fellow in population genetics at Pennsylvania State University until 2000, when she became a faculty member at the University of Maryland. She came to the University of Pennsylvania in 2008 where she currently holds an appointment as the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor, with dual appointments in the Department of Genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine and in the Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Tishkoff is a recipient of an NIH Pioneer Award, a David and Lucile Packard Career Award, a Burroughs/Wellcome Fund Career Award and a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) endowed chair. She is a member, and on the board of directors, of the American Society of Human Genetics and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Dr. Tishkoff studies genomic and phenotypic variation in ethnically diverse Africans. Her research combines field work, laboratory research, and computational methods to examine African population history and how genetic variation can affect a wide range of issues – for example, why humans have different susceptibility to disease, how they metabolize drugs, and how they adapt through evolution. Together with African collaborators, she has established an extensive collection of DNA and phenotype data from geographically and ethnically diverse Africans, many from populations never previously studied at the genetic level. Her studies demonstrate high levels of genomic diversity within and among ethnically diverse African populations and shed light on modern human origins as well as African population history. In addition, she has identified the genetic basis and evolutionary history of a number of adaptive traits including lactose tolerance in East African pastoralists, adaptation to high altitude in Ethiopians, genetic resistance to malaria infection in Africans, and the genetic basis of short stature in Central African rainforest hunter-gatherers. Dr. Tishkoff’s research helps set the stage for future genomic and biomedical research studies in Africa.

Powered by Blackbaud
nonprofit software