Our Team

Jon Entine, Executive Director
Jon’s interest in genetics arose from a family history of breast and ovarian cancer. He is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy at the University of California-Davis. Jon 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). He has been a contributing columnist at Forbes, Huffington Post and the UK-based Ethical Corporation magazine, and has contributed to hundreds of newspapers, magazines and websites around the world. He spoke before the National Academy of Sciences and the Australian National Press Club on the issue of GMO safety. Before launching his writing career, Jon was an a producer and executive for 20 years at NBC News and ABC News, winning 20 journalism awards, including a National Press Club Award and Emmys for specials on the reform movements in China and the Soviet Union. He was head of documentaries and Tom Brokaw’s long-time producer while at NBC 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.
Nicholas Staropoli, GLP Associate Director; Director of Epigenetics Literacy Project
Nicholas is a biologist whose primary focus is genetics, molecular biology, and microbiology. He received a BS in Biomedical Sciences from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY and an MA in Biology from DePaul University in Chicago, IL. Nicholas wrote his master’s thesis on the role insulin may play in the cellular and neurological underpinnings of learning and memory. He also spent time both working for the diagnostic microbiology lab at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA and teaching biology courses at Barnard College, while at the latter he also spent time doing research in environmental microbiology. He is currently based out of New York City.
Michael-BudMichael Bud, Web and Technology Director
Michael is Creative Director of Square Squared, a digital graphics and web development agency based out of Fairfield County, Connecticut. He is the Chairman of the Solomon Scholarship Fund for Engineering, an organization founded to help students pursue careers in mechanical and/or aeronautical engineering. He is also an award-winning Sculptor and an avid songwriter.
John de Dios, Digital Media Director/Writer
With training in media and biology, John is a freelance journalist and former journalism instructor. He has contributed to 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 of The New York Times Journalism Institute and as director for a Dow Jones News Fund Diversity Workshop hosted by the University of Arizona.
Meredith Swett Walker, Phd.Meredith Swett Walker, Agricultural and Food Genetics Writer and Editor
Meredith Swett Walker is a biologist who used to study bird behavior and hormones in the Boreal forest. She now studies the development of two juvenile humans in the high desert of western Colorado. When she is not handling her research subjects, she writes about science and nature. Her work has appeared in Colorado Outdoors, Entomology Today, and Orion magazine.
Website: http://picahudsonia.com/
Twitter: @mswettwalker
Meredith Knight, Human Genetics Contributing Columnist
Meredith Knight is a science and health writer based in Austin, Texas. She graduated from NYU’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program and has written for Scientific American MIND, Scientific American Online, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and other publications.
Sarah-KingSarah King, Human Genetics Writer and Editor
Sarah is an undergraduate student in neuroscience at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY where she is editor of the Science & Technology section of Boilerplate Magazine, an alternative online news source that focuses on addressing social issues through a creative and thought-provoking lens. She is a research assistant in developmental psychology focusing on child-caregiver relations and mental health in childhood and adolescence.
Rebecca-RandallRebecca Randall. Food and Agriculture Writer
Rebecca is a journalist based in Portland, Ore., focusing on food and agriculture with an interest in biotechnology and environmental sustainability. She’s also reported on local politics and business for GoLocalPDX and international development, especially related to food security, nutrition or food policy, for Humanosphere and the Seattle Globalist. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication (concentrating on journalism) from the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn., and an M.A. in international studies (focusing on Africa) from the University of Washington in Seattle, Wash. She’s the daughter of a North Dakota farmer and enjoys telling stories that resonate with the farming community.

Our Advisors

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

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.