Housed in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School (HMS), we believe that teaching and writing about the use of genetic information in the public domain is an integral part of our work. Founded in 2006, we are a diverse mix of scientists and educators engaging with science policy, curriculum reform, and – more broadly – the ways in which genetic information might transform health care, basic research, insurance, law, and our ideas about family, privacy, and identity.
Ting Wu, Ph.D.Director and Co-founder of pgEd, Professor of Genetics
Ting is involved in all aspects of pgEd, including teaching in high schools, contributing to the online curricula, organizing conferences and Congressional briefings, working with producers and writers in the entertainment industry, developing Map-Ed, and working with communities of faith. Ting is also a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, where her research group studies the manner in which chromosome structure and behavior govern inheritance and genome activity (http://www.homologyeffects.org/). She received her B.A. from Harvard University in Biology and her Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in Genetics. She did her postdoctoral training at Yale University and the Station for Natural Studies, after which she was a Fellow in Molecular Biology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. She is now a Professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Wu has been honored as a recipient of an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award as well as an NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award for her studies on chromosome organization, analysis of sequence conservation, and inventions for imaging the genome.
Marnie Gelbart, Ph.D.Director of Programs
Marnie is leading initiatives for increasing awareness and conversation about genetic technologies. She organizes Congressional briefings, advises writers and producers of television and film, works with communities of faith, and leads workshops for teachers and other professionals. Marnie is co-PI of Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics (ARC), a five-year NIH-funded project through which pgEd is developing curricula on identity and inclusion, and working with teachers in urban Massachusetts and rural South Dakota communities. Marnie has been a member of the Information & Education Committee of the American Society of Human Genetics since 2015, and she served on the community engagement working group for the NHGRI Genomic Literacy, Education, and Engagement Initiative (2016-2017). Prior to joining pgEd, Marnie was a post-doctoral fellow at Brigham & Women’s Hospital investigating the role of chromosome organization in gene regulation. She received her B.S. in biology from Haverford College and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Mohammed Hannan, M.Sc.Community Liaison
Mohammed’s particular focus as part of pgEd is to raise awareness on personal genetics in South Asian and Middle Eastern countries. He helps pgEd organize meetings, seminars, and symposia. He received his M.Sc. in Wildlife Conservation Biology from University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and was awarded a Global Fellowship at Duke University Marine Laboratory in 2008 to study Sea Turtle and Marine Biodiversity. Currently, he is a Research Assistant in Ting Wu’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School. Mohammed works with the Oligopaints technology and its potential for visualizing entire genomes of all organisms to unfold their unknown mysteries. As he works with genetic tools and their prospects, Mohammed is eager to increase awareness in faith-based communities and engage them on the topic of personal genetics.
Clifford JonesCommunity Liaison
Clifford Jones first got involved with pgEd as a sophomore in high school when he first met Dr. Ting Wu, and instantly wanted to keep up with the advances in the field of genetics. CJ’s main goal is to make Boston, our local community, the most aware about the advances in genetics. CJ takes pride in getting youth to participate in discussions that allow them to become passionate about advanced genetic technologies and how it can impact their daily lives. CJ is also dedicated to reaching out to communities of faith to ensure no one is left out of these crucial conversations. CJ believes that “it is time for Our Communities to come together and engage in conversations that allows us to think beyond the classroom.”
Johnny Kung, Ph.D.Director of New Initiatives
Johnny’s role is to help expand the reach of pgEd to underserved communities in Boston and beyond, to ensure that all communities are engaged in important conversations about the implications and benefits of genetic technologies. He is broadly interested in the legal, ethical and policy issues at the interface of genetics and society, and worked with pgEd on classroom workshops and publications during his graduate studies. Johnny received his H.B.Sc. in Biochemistry from University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. in Developmental and Regenerative Biology from Harvard University, with a secondary field of study in Science, Technology and Society, as well as a certificate in Human Biology and Translational Medicine. Before returning to pgEd, he was a science writer and project manager for Science Education videos at the Journal of Visualized Experiments.
Fabienne Mondesir, M.A.T.Director of Community Engagement
Fabienne Mondesir is a veteran Boston Public School biology teacher, who is currently on leave to help pgEd launch a new community-centered initiative in the Boston area. Fabienne earned her BA in Psychobiology/animal behavior from Wheaton College and a Masters in the Art of Teaching Biology (M.A.T) from Tufts University. Fabienne has been very passionate about incorporating race science including the biology of skin, Eugenics, and pseudo-scientific practices that have influenced and shaped policies and practices from the 14th century to the present, into her curriculum. Fabienne strongly believes that “it is the right of every student to see themselves in the content they learn everyday.” Fabienne is also 2012 Fund for Teachers Fellow, having been awarded a grant to visit Haiti and the Dominican Republic to research scientific and historical practices of colonization that lead up to the current practice of apátrida, or citizenship denial of Dominican citizens of Haitian decent in the Dominican Republic. Fabienne is very excited to continue working and sharing with the pgEd family.
Florcy Romero, M.A.Curriculum and Professional Development Associate
Florcy is a community organizer and an advocate for writing curriculums that reflect youth of color through an indigenous and urban feminist framework. She aspires to create engaging curriculum that could have helped her growing up in a low-income inner city. She has taught in the different barrios she has lived in and believes in holistic/interdisciplinary teaching that incorporates culturally relevant and artistic outlets for her students. She is also the co-founder of Women of Color in Solidarity – a grassroots organization that seeks to create spaces for women of color to educate, heal, and liberate through collective action. Florcy received her B.A.in International Development and Social Change and her Masters in Community Development and Planning, both from Clark University.
Lauren Tomaselli, M.EdDirector of Curriculum and Training
Lauren leads pgEd’s effort to develop scientifically precise and engaging curriculum for use in middle, high school and college classrooms, with a special emphasis on accessibility to learners of all levels and backgrounds. She organizes and executes professional development workshops to train teachers about the ethical and social issues in personal genetics, and presents at local, regional and national conferences. She especially enjoys when she can work with students. Recent projects include writing new curriculum, holding professional development workshops, and launching a pilot of pgEd’s lessons with teachers in New England. Lauren received her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from Syracuse University, and her Masters of Social Studies Education from New York University. She taught social studies in New York City public schools for six years and brings an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum planning, allowing pgEd to create materials not just for biology classrooms, but also social studies, history, English and law classes.
Dana Waring, M.L.AEducation Director and Co-founder of pgEd
Dana’s role as Education Director includes speaking at national forums, such as the GET Conference and meetings of the National Science Teachers Association about the promises and emerging questions in genome sequencing. Her expertise includes the social, familial and legal landscape in personal genetics, and she has a special interest in newborn screening, the genetics of complex traits, and reproductive technology. Dana develops educational materials and conducts courses and workshops on the use and impact of personal genetics throughout the world. Her training in sociology, history of science, and women’s studies allows her to bring an interdisciplinary approach to her teaching and curricula that includes of a diversity of viewpoints. Recent projects include teaching in the Teaching the Genome Generation course at the Jackson Laboratory and developing new curricula as part of pgEd’s Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics (ARC) grant, awarded through a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of Health. Based in both Massachusetts and Maine, Dana has travelled extensively and talked with thousands of students about personal genetics and how it may impact them personally and as a member of society. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, and a Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard University.