Sam Sinai

I am a fourth year Ph.D. student at Harvard, studying Mathematical and Computational Biology under the supervision of Martin Nowak . I also collaborate with Eric Kelsic at Church Lab, where I use computational models to inform rational protein design and study the fitness landscape of Adeno-associated Virus. I previously worked on understanding how complexity arises from the process of evolution. In particular, I was focused on theoretical problems related to the origin of life. Before arriving at Harvard, I spent five and a half wonderful years at MIT, where I completed my B.S. and M.Eng. degrees in Computer Science & Engineering, focusing on Artificial Intelligence and Computational Biology.


I was born and raised in a Tehran, Iran, in a wonderful multi-cultural family of artists. My upbringing was enriched by lots of exposure to art and culture, but not much science. Nonetheless, attending the Allameh Helli school turned me into a scientist wanna-be. To this day, I consider this place as one of the best preparatory schools for science in the world. During my time there, I developed an interest in evolutionary biology and genetics. To pursue this interest, I started my undergraduate studies at Tehran University of Medical Sciences . After 2 years, in pursuit of a better training, I moved to Cambridge, MA to study at MIT. The 5.5 years I spent at MIT was filled with amazing experiences. I traveled to Kenya to teach programming, learned how to implement microelectrodes in moths to control their flight path, developed models on the evolution of early replicators, and taught several courses, including evolutionary biology and artificial intelligence. Believe it or not, I find the study of evolutionary processes the precise interface where art, biology and computer science meet. Let's see what I can make of that belief!



Harvard University

Mathematical Biology, PhD student

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Computer Sci. and Eng., M.Eng. 2014, B.Sc. 2012


See my publications on google scholar.


Download CV. (Last updated Nov 2017)


Martin A. Nowak, Eric Kelsic, Patrick H. Winston, Costis Daskalakis, Robert C. Berwick.


One of my main objectives in life is to travel as much as possible and explore this fascinating planet. I have so far visited around 180 cities in 30 countries. Some of the cities that I remember visiting are tagged on this map.


I lazily communicate my research on this blog. I also sometimes blog about Iran and Science on Quora. Some of my posts were re-published in Slate Magazine, Forbes,and Quartz . If you have questions about research, graduate school, or anything else you can ask me on quora. When I have too much free time, I make videos or facebook apps. To maintain sanity, I occasionally DJ at underground parties and venues(I play Techno, if you want to give me a gig :))


Email: firstnamelastname @ alum[dot]mit[dot]edu