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One of the most talked about speakers at TED 2016, Riccardo Sabatini applies his expertise in numerical modeling and data to projects ranging from food commodities markets to computational genomics. His most recent research centers on cracking the code of life at J. Craig Venter's San Diego based company, Human Longevity, Inc.

In 2015 Sabatini and his lab presented an algorithm to predict common traits such as height, eye color, skin color, and even facial structure based on reading a person’s genome via a tiny blood sample. His related TED talk generated a buzz in the scientific and tech communities when he demonstrated this ability in addition to the startling amount of information packed into one person's genome: 172 books worth, the total of which were actually wheeled out onto the TED stage for display.

In addition to his data research, Sabatini is deeply involved in education for entrepreneurs. He is the founder and co-director of the Quantum ESPRESSO Foundation, a non-profit charity supporting young researchers around the globe to get involved in material science. He is also an advisor to several data-driven startups, and founder of The HUB Trieste, a social impact accelerator.

Full Profile

Riccardo Sabatini was born in 1981 in Italy, He earned a BS in quantum physics at Catholic University of Sacro Cuore, was a research fellow in the Max-Planck-Institut in nanofabrication, and graduated with a Masters cum-laude in theoretical physics at University of Trieste, and a PhD cum-laude in quantum theory of matter at SISSA. He has a post-doc at EPFL in numerical simulation of quantum materials and is a GPS alumni at NASA, Singularity University.

Sabatini’s expertise is focused on the application of numerical modeling and data mining on a broad class of problems – discovery of new nano-materials, modeling and forecasting of food commodities markets, computational genomics. He’s been the director of FoodCAST, EU research project on food commodity markets forecasting, developing groundbreaking techniques in the field; co-director and faculty member at the Master in Complex Actions; co-founder of the startup incubator The HUB Trieste; board member of several startups in the artificial intelligence field. Today his research is focused on computations genomics and artificial intelligence applied to health.

Sabatini is frequently a keynote speaker in international events and conferences, author in top ranking scientific journals, consultant for several listed companies, inventor of several patents in IT. He’s co-founder and advisor of the Quantum ESPRESSO Foundation, a non-profit charity supporting young researchers around the globe to get involved in material science.


Riccardo Sabatini Speaker Videos Back to top

Riccardo Sabatini, Data Scientist: TED Talk


Riccardo Sabatini discusses how more than ever we can easily access the largest amount of information that has ever existed - the human genome, a lengthy combination of over 3 billion proteins per person. It's taken over 40 years to record everything, he emphasizes, and now this accomplishment marks a tipping point for science, health, and society.

Sabatini demonstrates a machine capable of reading the secrets of our DNA; his team of scientists can accurately construct images of a person's face just from analyzing a sample of their blood - just one of the many capabilities this information now gives us. While such technology opens up many remarkable possibilities, it also creates numerous ethical questions we have never had to wrestle with before.

Sabatini calls on the whole world to participate in the conversation regarding how we will use this unprecedented power. "Everyone is involved, because it's the future of our species," he states. "Without fear, but with the understanding that the decisions that we make in the next year will change the course of history forever."

Riccardo Sabatini, Data Scientist: TEDxLakeComo



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


Leading data scientist, Riccardo Sabatini focuses on the growing role of numerical modeling and data in a variety of industries. As one of the scientists at the forefront of extracting practical solutions from the human genome code, he specializes in data's implication in the biotech and health industries. Sabatini hits home the powerful potential of such data along with the unprecedented possibilities it will present and urges audiences to take part in shaping the ethical boundaries of how we will use this unlimited power.

    How to Read the Genome and Build a Human Being
    Secrets, disease and beauty are all written in the human genome, the complete set of genetic instructions needed to build a human being. Now, as scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini shows us, we have the power to read this complex code, predicting things like height, eye color, age and even facial structure — all from a vial of blood. And soon, Sabatini says, our new understanding of the genome will allow us to personalize treatments for diseases like cancer. We have the power to change life as we know it. How will we use it?

    Other Suggested Speaking Topics:

  • Complexity smart data and Your Industry




* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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    How to Read the Genome and Build a Human Being
    Secrets, disease and beauty are all written in the human genome, the complete set of genetic instructions needed to build a human being. Now, as scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini shows us, we have the power to read this complex code, predicting things like height, eye color, age and even facial structure — all from a vial of blood. And soon, Sabatini says, our new understanding of the genome will allow us to personalize treatments for diseases like cancer. We have the power to change life as we know it. How will we use it?

    Other Suggested Speaking Topics:

  • Complexity smart data and Your Industry


Riccardo Sabatini, Data Scientist: TED Talk


Riccardo Sabatini discusses how more than ever we can easily access the largest amount of information that has ever existed - the human genome, a lengthy combination of over 3 billion proteins per person. It's taken over 40 years to record everything, he emphasizes, and now this accomplishment marks a tipping point for science, health, and society.

Sabatini demonstrates a machine capable of reading the secrets of our DNA; his team of scientists can accurately construct images of a person's face just from analyzing a sample of their blood - just one of the many capabilities this information now gives us. While such technology opens up many remarkable possibilities, it also creates numerous ethical questions we have never had to wrestle with before.

Sabatini calls on the whole world to participate in the conversation regarding how we will use this unprecedented power. "Everyone is involved, because it's the future of our species," he states. "Without fear, but with the understanding that the decisions that we make in the next year will change the course of history forever."

Riccardo Sabatini, Data Scientist: TEDxLakeComo