Jon’s interest in genetics arose from a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. He is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Health & Risk Communication and the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) at George Mason University. He has been a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute since 2003, focusing on science and public policy. He has written or edited seven books, including: Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity and the DNA of the Chosen People (2007), Let Them Eat Precaution: How Politics is Undermining the Genetic Revolution in Agriculture (2005) and Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We’re Afraid to Talk About It (2001). Jon is a columnist at Ethical Corporation magazine and founder of the sustainability consultancy, ESG MediaMetrics. Before launching his writing and consulting career, Jon was an Emmy-award winning producer and executive for 20 years at NBC News and ABC News. He received his degree in philosophy from Trinity College (CT) and studied at the University of Michigan under a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.
Katy Davis has worked as a public relations professional for the Center for Media and Public Affairs and STATS since 2012. She received her BS from the University of Florida in Public Relations in 2010. In 2011, she received her Masters from the University of Florida in Management.
Gloria Dawson is a New York City-based journalist focusing on food in all its forms. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Nautilus, National Geographic online, Modern Farmer, Gastronomica, Columbia Journalism Review online, and others. She has worked at the editorial department of Quartz, the Atlantic’s business website, and the Daily Green, Hearst’s environmental website. She also worked in the social media department of the New York Times while finishing her master’s degree at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
John de Dios, with training in media and biology, is a freelance journalist and former journalism instructor. He has contributed to many news organizations including Scientific American, Fox News Latino, Tucson Weekly, Arizona Republic and Arizona Daily Star. He serves as a professional mentor to young journalists through various organizations, including Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists. He previously served on the faculty ofThe New York Times Journalism Institute and as director for a Dow Jones News Fund Diversity Workshop hosted by the University of Arizona.
Rebecca is Director of Research for STATS and holds a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Mathematics, and a B.A., cum laude from Harvard University. She did postdoctoral work at University of Maryland as a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow before joining George Mason University, where she is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. She has received the Ruth I. Michler Memorial Prize from the Association of Women in Mathematics and was one of the winners of George Mason’s Emerging Scholar Awards, which recognizes excellence in academic achievement.
I’m a long-time science and medical journalist, publishing online and in print periodicals ranging from Scientific American to The Lancet. I was Founding Editor of The Scientist and a Senior Editor at Nature Biotechnology, and my books are Your Brain: How You Got It and How It Works and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Microbiology. I began On Science Blogs in 2009 and was invited to move it to the PLOS Blog Network in 2013. New posts on Fridays at http://blogs.plos.org/onscienceblogs/ . I’m a member of the Authors Guild, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and have been elected four times to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Science Writers.
Josh Schonwald is a Chicago journalist and the author of The Taste of Tomorrow: Dispatches from the Future of Food. Schonwald has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and Slate.
Rachel VanCott is a technical writer and freelance science writer in Boston, MA. She received an M.S. in Science Writing from MIT, and B.S. in Biology/B.A. in English from the State University of New York at Geneseo.
Kenrick Vezina has a M.S. in science writing from MIT and has spent his career as a science writer and educator. His academic background is in biology, and he has been interested in evolution and the the relationship between humanity and nature for as long as he can remember. In addition to the Gene-ius column at the Genetic Literacy Project, his work can be found across the web. He often contributes to Northern Woodlands magazine’s “Outside Story” column.
Katherine Wendelsdorf is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD in the Systems Genomics and Bioinformatics Unit. She received here Ph.D. in Computational Biology from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Science in Public Health from Tulane University where she studied insect-borne diseases. She was a 2006 Fulbright Scholar in Brazil and a 2010 graduate delegate to the Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates. She has written for various media outlets on current research topics in biotech and the implications they have for society structure and daily life.
Media Science Advisors
Kevin Davies, Editor-in-Chief of Bio•IT World
Kevin is the author most recently of The $1,000 Genome and Cracking the Genome (2010). He was the founding editor of Nature Genetics, the world’s leading genetics journal, which he headed for its first five years. He has also written for the Times (London), Boston Globe, New England Journal of Medicine, and New Scientist, among others. His first book, Breakthrough (1995), co-authored with Michael White, told the story of the race for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene. Davies holds an M.A. in biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in molecular genetics from the University of London. He held postdoctoral fellowships at MIT and Harvard Medical School before moving into science publishing as an editor with Nature magazine.
Elizabeth Finkel, Science Writer
Elizabeth holds a PhD in biochemistry and was a professional research scientist before becoming a journalist, focusing on human and agricultural genomics. She is author of Genome Generation (Melbourne University Publishing, 2011) and Stem Cells: Controversy at the frontiers of Science (2005), which won a Queensland Premier’s Literary award and was a finalist for the Australian government Eureka award for promoting the public understanding of science. She has won the Amgen and MBF awards for medical journalism, the Michael Daley award for best radio feature broadcast, the Bell Awards’ categories for ‘Best feature writer’ and ‘Best analytical writer’ and a 2011 National Press Club of Australia and Universities Australia Higher Education Journalist of the Year.
Science & Risk Communication Advisors
Geoffrey Kabat, Senior Epidemiologist, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Geoffrey is a cancer epidemiologist whose research has focused on the effects of smoking, alcohol, diet, hormones, electromagnetic fields and other factors. He has published over 80 scientific papers and writes regularly for the popular media. His book, Hyping Health Risks: Environmental Hazards in Everyday Life and the Science of Epidemiology (2008) is considered a classic in risk analysis and communication.
Gary L. Kreps, Chair, Department of Communication, George Mason University
Gary held the Mandell Endowed Chair in Health Communication from 2004 to 2010. He serves on the Governing Board of the Center for Social Science Research, and is a faculty affiliate of the National Center for Biodefense and Infectious Diseases, the Center for Health Care Ethics and Policy, the Center for International Medical Policies and Practices, Center for Health Information Technology, Center for Consciousness and Transformation, and the Center for Climate Change Communication at GMU. Prior to his faculty appointment, he served for five years (1999–2004) as the founding Chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute. He was the Founding Dean of the School of Communication at Hofstra University, Executive Director of the Greenspun School of Communication at UNLV and in faculty and administrative roles at Northern Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, and Purdue Universities.
Human Genetics Advisors
Henry Harpending, Thomas Chair Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, University of Utah
Henry earned his PhD at Harvard in 1972 and is credited with developing the “Out of Africa” theory of evolution. He has broken new ground in anthropology and human biology by applying mathematical models to genetic and morphometric variation, examining hypotheses such as population growth, divergence and gene flow. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and co-author with Gregory Cochran of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution (2009). They found evidence that our species had only a few thousand members during the last interglacial and that there were several subsequent demographic expansions, the earliest among the ancestors of contemporary sub-Saharan Africans.
Caroline Lieber, Director, Human Genetics Graduate Program, Sarah Lawrence College
Caroline is head of the largest genetic counseling training program in the United States, with more than 600 graduates and links to 50 genetic centers around the country. She received her MS in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence and her BS from the University of California-Davis. She is also an ABGC licensed genetic counselor and member of the Transnational Alliance for Genetic Counseling.
Ariella Oppenheim, Professor Emeritus, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School
Ariella has held the Henri and Erna Leir Chair in Molecular Biology & Cellular Medicine since 1999 and has been a faculty member since receiving her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1966. In 1998 she established the Ethics in Research Committee at the Hebrew University and chaired the Committee. She also participated in the formulation of Israel’s Genetic Information Law and was both a participant and head of ad-hoc committees of the Ministry of Health and of the Ministry of Science on ethical issues in genetics and gene therapy. She helped establish the Gene Therapy Institute at Hadassah in 1992, and since 2003 has been a member of the steering committee of the Israeli National Center For Gene Therapy. She is a member of the National Helsinki Committee, which serves as an advisory committee on ethics to the Ministry of Health.
Sharon Terry, President, CEO, Genetic Alliance
Sharon runs a network of thousands of genetic disease-specific advocacy organizations. A former college chaplain, she is the CEO of PXE International, a research advocacy organization for the genetic condition pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE), which she founded following the diagnosis of her two children. She is also co-founder of the Genetic Alliance Biobank, a centralized biological and data repository on genetic diseases. She serves on the boards of the Institute of Medicine Science and Policy Board, GRAND Therapeutics Foundation, the Center for Information & Study on Clinical Research Participation, The Biotechnology Institute, National Coalition of Health Professional Education in Genetics and the Coalition for 21st Century Medicine. She is on the editorial boards of Genetic Testing and Biomarkers, Biopreservation and Biobanking, and Journal of Postgenomics: Drug & Biomarker Development, and the Google Health and Rosalind Franklin Society Advisory Boards. She is the chair of the Coalition for Genetic Fairness, which was instrumental in the passage of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act.
Food Security Advisors
Peggy G. Lemaux, Chair, University of California Statewide Biotechnology Workgroup
Peggy is Director of the Lemaux Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley and a Cooperative Extension Specialist at the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. She is founder and editor of KnowsGMOs, a science based information and resource guide. Her research efforts focus on the use of genomic technologies to understand, manipulate and improve cereal crops, such as wheat, barley, rice and sorghum. Her applied projects include engineering a faster germinating barley with improved starch characteristics intended for the brewing industry, a hypoallergenic wheat variety aimed at consumers with wheat allergies and the nutritional enhancement of sorghum for Africa with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges for Global Health. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Society of Agronomy and the American Society of Plant Biologists.
C.S. Prakash, Director, Center for Plant Biotechnology Research, Tuskegee University
C.S. oversees research on food crops of importance to developing countries and the training of scientists in plant biotechnology. His website AgBioworld.org is read by experts in 55 countries. He recently served on the USDA’s Agricultural Biotechnology Advisory Committee and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Department of Biotechnology for India. His contribution to agricultural biotechnology outreach was recognized by the magazine Progressive Farmer, which named him the Man of the Year for his service to Alabama agriculture. He was recently named by the Council for Biotechnology Information as one of a dozen “pioneers, visionaries and innovators behind the progress and promise of plant biotechnology”.
Chavali Kameswara Rao, Executive Secretary, Foundation for Biotechnology Awareness and Education
Chavali has over 40 years of academic experience in botanical sciences, particularly phytochemistry, plant diversity, databases of medicinal plants and computer applications in plant systematics. He was the chairman of the Departments of Botany Sericulture at the Bangalore University. FBAE is a non-profit striving to enhance public awareness and raise standards of education and training in biotechnology. He serves on several policy committees of the Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of Environment and Forests in India and life science research policy committees of the US National Academies of Sciences and the World Health Organization.
Legal and Ethics Advisors
Daniel Vorhaus, Editor, Genomics Law Report
Dan is a lawyer at Robinson Bradshaw. His legal work focuses on life sciences and biotechnology, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property and technology, venture capital and emerging growth companies and general corporate and commercial transactions in the emerging field of law surrounding genomics and personalized medicine technologies. He has represented public and private companies in merger, acquisition and licensing transactions, private equity groups in complex acquisition, financing and licensing arrangements and investors, established and emerging companies, entrepreneurs and researchers in the development and commercialization of life sciences technologies. He is an advisor on the Harvard University-based Personal Genome Project. A Fulbright scholar, he is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was a Student Fellow at the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology and Bioethics.
Laurie Zoloth, Director, Center for Bioethics, Science and Society; Professor, Medical Ethics, Religion, Northwestern University
Laurie was Professor of Ethics and Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University before coming to Northwestern. She is past president of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and served on its founding board for two terms, receiving the Society’s award for Service to the Field. She is the former Chair of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Bioethics Advisory Board, an executive board member of The Society for Women’s Health Research, and served on the advisory boards of the Robert Wood Johnson’s Project on Excellence at the End of Life, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Working Group on Human Germ-Line Interventions and on Stem Cell Research, the Ethics Section of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Jewish Social Ethics and the Park Ridge Center’s Project on Judaism and Bioethics. She received an NIH ELSI grant to explore the ethical issues after the mapping of the human genome and was named principal investigator of the International Project on Judaism and Genetics, which was co-sponsored by the AAAS and supported by the Haas Foundation and the Greenwall Fund. She is on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, the Journal of Clinical Ethics and the American Journal of Bioethics.