Dr Marc Haber BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Marc Haber

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Associate Professor
Director of the Health Data Science Programme in Dubai

Contact details

University of Birmingham
Dubai International Academic City

Marc Haber is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and leads the Health Data Science Programme at the Dubai Campus. His group investigates genetic variation in humans to explain differences between populations in disease incidence and progression. The group focuses on genetically underrepresented populations to understand how their genomic history has contributed to their disease burden. 

Marc’s background is in population genetics. He uses large-scale sequencing data from modern and ancient populations to learn about the events that shaped the human genome; this involves investigating how humans migrated and spread around the world, admixed, and adapted to new environments and the consequence of these events on human traits and diseases.


  • PhD in Biomedicine, Pompeu Fabra University
  • MSc in Molecular Biology, Lebanese American University
  • BSc in Biology, Lebanese American University


Marc completed his PhD at Pompeu Fabra University’s Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona. He worked on the genetics of people from Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa highlighting the role of culture in driving genetic structure. After his PhD, Marc joined the Human Evolution team at the Wellcome Sanger Institute as a postdoctoral fellow under the supervision of Chris Tyler-Smith. His research combined the use of modern and ancient DNA to interpret genetic diversity observed today in Africans and Middle Easterners. He also studied the genetic characteristics of isolated populations from Europe and ethnolinguistic groups in the Caucasus and the Himalayas. He then joined University of Birmingham in the UK as a Group Leader in population Genetics and now leads the Health Data Science Programme in Dubai.


Postgraduate supervision

Accepting MSc and funded PhD students interested in:

  • Human demography and consequence on gene function
  • Evolution of somatic mutations
  • Genetic epidemiology


All humans are related by descent from a common ancestral population which originated in Africa ~200,000-300,000 years ago. Population sub-structure has arisen afterward, including from the migration of few thousand individuals out-of-Africa ~60,000 years ago - who subsequently went to occupy the entire globe carrying only a small subset of the African genetic diversity. The low genetic variation in humans today is remarkable in comparison to other apes, but the small differences in allele frequencies among human populations (arising from genetic drift, admixture, and natural selection) are important from an evolutionary and medical point of view. In our group we study these population genetic differences to understand how they contribute to disparity in disease susceptibility. We explore disease-variants in populations that remain today underrepresented in genetic studies such as Africans, Middle Easterners and South Asians, and study how these variants differ from or inform on disease etiology in other populations.

Google Scholar Profile

Haber Molecular Biology

Haber Cell


Elliott K, Haber M, Daggag H, Busby G, Sarwar R, Kennet D, et al. (2022). Fine-scale genetic structure in the United Arab Emirates reflects endogamous and consanguineous culture, population history and geography. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 39(3): msac039

Almarri MA, Haber M, Lootah RA, Hallast P, Al Turki, S., et al. (2021). The Genomic History of the Middle East. Cell. 2021 Aug 2:S0092-8674(21)00839-4. 

Sahakyan H, Margaryan A, Saag L, Karmin M, Flores R, Haber M, Kushniarevich A, Khachatryan Z, Bahmanimehr A, Parik J, et al. (2021). Origin and diffusion of human Y chromosome haplogroup J1-M267. Sci Rep. 2021 Mar 23;11(1):6659.

Haber, M., Nassar, J., Almarri, M.A., Saupe, T., Saag, L., Griffith, S.J., Doumet-Serhal, C., Chanteau, J., Saghieh-Beydoun, M., and Xue, Y. (2020). A genetic history of the Near East from an aDNA time course sampling eight points in the past 4,000 Years. The American Journal of Human Genetics 107, 149-157. Coverage: The Daily Mail

Haber M, Jones AL, Connell BA, Asan, Arciero E, et al. (2019) A Rare Deep-Rooting D0 African Y-Chromosomal Haplogroup and Its Implications for the Expansion of Modern Humans out of Africa. Genetics. Jun 13. pii: genetics.302368.2019.

Haber M, Doumet-Serhal C, Scheib CL, Xue Y, Mikulski R, et al. (2019) A Transient Pulse of Genetic Admixture from the Crusaders in the Near East Identified from Ancient Genome Sequences. Am J Hum Genet. 104(5):977-984. Coverage: Cell Press , The Guardian 

Scheib CL, Li H, Desai T, ... Haber M, et al. (2018) Ancient human parallel lineages within North America contributed to a coastal expansion. Science. 360, 1024-1027.

Arciero E, Kraaijenbrink T, Asan, Haber M, Mezzavilla M, et al. (2018) Demographic history and genetic adaptation in the Himalayan region inferred from genome-wide SNP genotypes of 49 populations. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 35(8): 1916-1933.

Haber M, Doumet-Serhal C, Scheib C, Xue Y, Danecek P, et al. (2017) Continuity and Admixture in the Last Five Millennia of Levantine History from Ancient Canaanite and Present-Day Lebanese Genome Sequences. The American Journal of Human Genetics 101, 274-282. Coverage: Science , The New York Times 

Xue Y, Mezzavilla M, Haber M*, McCarthy S, Chen Y, et al. (2017) Enrichment of low-frequency functional variants revealed by whole-genome sequencing of multiple isolated European populations. Nature Communications 8, 15927.

Platt D.E, Haber M, Dagher-Kharrat M.B, Douaihy B, Khazen G, Ashrafian Bonab M, et al. (2017) Mapping Post-Glacial expansions: The Peopling of Southwest Asia. Scientific Reports 7, 40338.

Haber M, Mezzavilla M, Bergstrom A, Prado-Martinez J, Hallast P, et al. (2016) Chad Genetic Diversity Reveals an African History Marked by Multiple Holocene Eurasian Migrations. The American Journal of Human Genetics 99, 1316-1324.

Haber M, Mezzavilla M, Xue Y, Tyler-Smith C (2016) Ancient DNA and the rewriting of human history: be sparing with Occam’s razor. Genome Biology 17: 1-8.

Haber M, Mezzavilla M, Xue Y, Comas D, Gasparini P, et al. (2016) Genetic evidence for an origin of the Armenians from Bronze Age mixing of multiple populations. European Journal of Human Genetics 24: 931-936. Coverage: The New York Times 

Platt DE, Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Youhanna S, ... Haber M, et al. (2015) Circulating lipid levels and risk of coronary artery disease in a large group of patients undergoing coronary angiography. Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis 39: 15-22.

Platt DE, Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Salameh P, Salloum AK, Haber M, et al. (2015) Caffeine Impact on Metabolic Syndrome Components Is Modulated by a CYP1A2 Variant. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 68: 1-11.

Pagani L, Schiffels S, Gurdasani D, ... Haber M, et al. (2015) Tracing the route of modern humans out of Africa by using 225 human genome sequences from Ethiopians and Egyptians. The American Journal of Human Genetics 96: 986-991.

Milane A, Khazen G, Zeineddine N, ... Haber M, et al. (2015) Association of coronary artery disease and chronic kidney disease in Lebanese population. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Medicine 8: 15866.

Merhi M, Demirdjian S, Hariri E, ... Haber M, et al. (2015) Impact of inflammation, gene variants, and cigarette smoking on coronary artery disease risk. Inflammation Research 64: 415-422.

Ayub Q, Mezzavilla M, Pagani L, Haber M, Mohyuddin A, et al. (2015) The Kalash Genetic Isolate: Ancient Divergence, Drift, and Selection. The American Journal of Human Genetics 96: 775-783. 

Nikpay M, Goel A, Won HH, ... Haber M, et al. (2015) A comprehensive 1000 Genomes-based genome-wide association meta-analysis of coronary artery disease. Nature Genetics 47:1121-1130

Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Haber M, Salloum AK, Al-Sarraj Y, Akle Y, et al. (2014) T2DM GWAS in the Lebanese population confirms the role of TCF7L2 and CDKAL1 in disease susceptibility. Scientific reports 4: 7351.

Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Deeb M, Salloum AK, Mouzaya F, Haber M, et al. (2014) Multivariate epidemiologic analysis of type 2 diabetes mellitus risks in the Lebanese population. Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome 6: 89.

Hovhannisyan A, Khachatryan Z, Haber M, Hrechdakian P, Karafet T, et al. (2014) Different waves and directions of Neolithic migrations in the Armenian Highland. Investigative Genetics 5: 1-11.

Platt DE, Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Youhanna S, ... Haber M, et al. (2014) Circulating lipid levels and risk of coronary artery disease in a large group of patients undergoing coronary angiography. Journal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis: 1-8

Haber M, Gauguier D, Youhanna S, Patterson N, Moorjani P, et al. (2013) Genome-Wide Diversity in the Levant Reveals Recent Structuring by Culture. PLoS Genetics 9: e1003316.

Fadhlaoui-Zid K, Haber M*, Martinez-Cruz B, Zalloua P, Benammar Elgaaied A, et al. (2013) Genome-wide and paternal diversity reveal a recent origin of human populations in north Africa. PLoS One 8: e80293.

Badro DA, Douaihy B, Haber M, Youhanna SC, Salloum A, et al. (2013) Y-Chromosome and mtDNA genetics reveal significant contrasts in affinities of modern Middle Eastern populations with European and African Populations. PloS One 8: e54616.

Melé M, Javed A, Pybus M, Zalloua P, Haber M, et al. (2012) Recombination gives a new insight in the effective population size and the history of the Old World human populations. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29: 25-30.

Javed A, Melé M, Pybus M, Zalloua P, Haber M, et al. (2012) Recombination networks as genetic markers in a human variation study of the Old World. Human Genetics: 1-13.

Hager J, Kamatani Y, Cazier J-B, Youhanna S, ... Haber M, et al. (2012) Genome-Wide Association Study in a Lebanese Cohort Confirms PHACTR1 as a Major Determinant of Coronary Artery Stenosis. PloS One 7: e38663.

Haber M, Youhanna SC, Balanovsky O, Saade S, Martínez‐Cruz B, et al. (2012) mtDNA Lineages Reveal Coronary Artery Disease‐Associated Structures in the Lebanese Population. Annals of Human Genetics 76(1):1-8.

Haber M, Platt DE, Bonab MA, Youhanna SC, Soria-Hernanz DF, et al. (2012) Afghanistan's Ethnic Groups Share a Y-Chromosomal Heritage Structured by Historical Events. PloS One 7: e34288. Coverage: National Geographic

Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Platt DE, Youhanna S, Abchee AB, ... Haber M, et al. (2012) Genetic and environmental influences on total plasma homocysteine and its role in coronary artery disease risk. Atherosclerosis 222(1):180-6.

Saade S, Cazier J-B, Ghassibe-Sabbagh M, Youhanna S, ... Haber M, et al. (2011) Large scale association analysis identifies three susceptibility loci for coronary artery disease. PloS One 6: e29427.

Balanovsky O, Dibirova K, Dybo A, Mudrak O, Frolova S, ... Haber M, et al. (2011) Parallel evolution of genes and languages in the Caucasus region. Molecular Biology and Evolution 28: 2905-2920.

Haber M, Platt DE, Khoury S, Badro DA, Abboud M, et al. (2010) Y-chromosome R-M343 African lineages and sickle cell disease reveal structured assimilation in Lebanon. Journal of Human Genetics 56: 29-33.

Haber M, Platt DE, Badro DA, Xue Y, El-Sibai M, et al. (2010) Influences of history, geography, and religion on genetic structure: the Maronites in Lebanon. European Journal of Human Genetics 19: 334-340.

Haber M, Daher C, Karam M, Baroody G (2009) Leishmania major: interleukin-13 increases the infection-induced hyperalgesia and the levels of interleukin-1beta and interleukin-12 in rats. Experimental Parasitology 121: 224-229.

El‐Sibai M, Platt DE, Haber M, Xue Y, Youhanna SC, et al. (2009) Geographical Structure of the Y‐chromosomal Genetic Landscape of the Levant: A coastal‐inland contrast. Annals of Human Genetics 73: 568-581.

Zalloua PA, Platt DE, El Sibai M, Khalife J, Makhoul N, Haber M, et al.. (2008) Identifying genetic traces of historical expansions: Phoenician footprints in the Mediterranean. The American Journal of Human Genetics 83: 633-642.

Selected publications as a consortium member

Adlam D, Olson TM, Combaret N, Kovacic JC, Iismaa SE, ... CARDIoGRAMPlusC4D Study Group. (2019) Association of the PHACTR1/EDN1 Genetic Locus With Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. J Am Coll Cardiol. 73(1):58-66.

Elhaik E, Tatarinova T, Chebotarev D, Piras IS, Maria Calo C, ... Genographic Consortium. (2014) Geographic population structure analysis of worldwide human populations infers their biogeographical origins. Nature Communications 5: 3513.

Elhaik E, Greenspan E, Staats S, Krahn T, Tyler-Smith C, ... Genographic Consortium. (2013) The GenoChip: a new tool for genetic anthropology. Genome Biology and Evolution 5: 1021-1031.

Der Sarkissian C, Balanovsky O, Brandt G, Khartanovich V, Buzhilova A, ... Genographic Consortium. (2013) Ancient DNA reveals prehistoric gene-flow from Siberia in the complex human population history of north East europe. PLoS Genetics 9: e1003296.

Martínez-Cruz B, Harmant C, Platt DE, Haak W, Manry J, ... Genographic Consortium. (2012) Evidence of pre-Roman tribal genetic structure in Basques from uniparentally inherited markers. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29: 2211-2222.

Rębała K, Martínez-Cruz B, Tönjes A, Kovacs P, Stumvoll M, ... Genographic Consortium. (2012) Contemporary paternal genetic landscape of Polish and German populations: from early medieval Slavic expansion to post-World War II resettlements. European Journal of Human Genetics 21(4):415-22.

Dulik MC, Owings AC, Gaieski JB, Vilar MG, Andre A, ... Genographic Consortium. (2012) Y-chromosome analysis reveals genetic divergence and new founding native lineages in Athapaskan-and Eskimoan-speaking populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109: 8471-8476.

Melé M, Javed A, Pybus M, Calafell F, Parida L, ... Genographic Consortium. (2010) A new method to reconstruct recombination events at a genomic scale. PLoS Computational Biology 6: e1001010.

Book chapters

Ayub Q, Haber M, Tyler-Smith C (2016). Evolutionary and population genetics in forensic science. In: Handbook of Forensic Genetics: Biodiversity and Heredity in Civil and Criminal Investigation. Editors: Amorim A and Budowle B. World Scientific, ISBN: 978-1786340771

View all publications in research portal