Nick Patterson has had a varied career, working in cryptography, finance, and genetics. For the past decade, his primary interest has been in using genetic data to learn about human history. He currently works as a senior computational biologist in the Program in Medical and Population Genetics at the Broad Institute and is also affiliated with Harvard Medical School.
During the fellowship, Patterson is studying how Indo-European, the largest language family on Earth, spread across Eurasia. There is rich genetic data available—including DNA from more than a hundred populations of India and ancient DNA from many relevant areas, including Iran and the Russian steppe.
Patterson earned a PhD from the University of Cambridge in pure mathematics, won a Meritorious Civilian Service Award from the US federal government for his cryptographic work, and has been featured in the New York Times’ Scientist at Work series.