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David Reich, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School


David Reich was born and raised in the Washington D.C. area. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1996 from Harvard College. He carried out his doctoral work in statistical methods for learning about evolutionary history with applications to gene mapping at the University of Oxford (mentor David Goldstein), graduating in 1999. He attended the first two years of medical school at the Harvard/MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. He completed his post-doctoral work at the Whitehead Institute / MIT Center for Genome Research working on using insights about population history to improve searchers for disease genes, before starting as faculty at the Harvard Medical School Department of Genetics in 2003. He became tenured at 2011, and became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2013.

Dr. Reich’s work focuses on studying population mixture, with application to both medical and human history. In medical genetics, he is best known for developing and applying methods to use the history of mixture of populations in the history of African Americans to find genetic risk factors that contribute to health disparities. His laboratory has also developed and applied methods that have also led to the discovery of ancient population mixtures in South Asians (Reich et al. Nature 2009), in Europeans (Lazaridis et al. Nature 2014; Haak et al. Nature 2015; Mathieson et al. Nature 2015; Fu et la. Nature2016; Lazaridis et al. Nature 2016); Neanderthal gene flow into that ancestors of non-Africans (Green et al. Science 2010; Prüfer et al. Nature2014), and archaic “Denisovan” gene flow into the ancestors of present-day Melanesians (Reich et al. Nature 2010; Reich et al. American Journal of Human Genetics 2011; Meyer et al. Science 2012).

Dr. Reich built the first state-of-the-art ancient lab for studying genome-wide human DNA in the United States in 2013, and much of his work at present focuses on using the transformative power of ancient DNA to gain new insight about medical and evolutionary genetics.