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Sara Althari

DPhil student

Research overview

Sara Althari is a Saudi Arabian national who graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College, Massachusetts, with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and Anthropology. For her Honors Thesis as an undergraduate, Sara developed an optimized methodology for the preparation of multifunctional gold nanoparticles designed to selectively deliver and concentrate a sufficient amount of boron molecules in pancreatic tumor cells for neutron capture therapy.

After her undergraduate career, Sara worked as a Research Assistant at Harvard Medical School where she was involved in a collaborative gene mapping and discovery effort known as the Developmental Genome Anatomy Project (DGAP). Her role in the project was the construction of custom large-insert jumping libraries of genomic DNA for whole genome sequencing from patients with abnormal phenotype who carry balanced chromosomal rearrangements. The novelty of this technique lies in its ability to rapidly define balanced structural rearrangements to nucleotide level resolution at tractable costs and timelines.

Currently, Sara is pursuing a DPhil under the supervision of Professors Mark McCarthy and Anna Gloyn. She is interested in bridging statistical and computational aspects of high-throughput data generation with functional and translational endeavors to enhance our understanding of the pathophysiological basis of diabetes. Her main focus is defining the functional and clinical relevance of variants in HNF1A by making correlations between multiple data sets, which include in vitro function, clinical features and biomarker profiles. Sara’s extracurricular activities include reading, traveling, horseback riding, and playing soccer. In addition, she is passionate about issues pertaining to Saudi youth and is especially devoted to helping young Saudi women realize their potential. To that end, she has helped numerous Saudi students enrol in prestigious institutions of higher education in the United States.

Selected publications

Ordulu Z, Wong KE, Currall BB, Ivanov AR et al. Describing sequencing results of structural chromosome rearrangements with a suggested next-gen cytogenetic nomenclature. Am J Hum Genet 2014;94:695-709.