Personal Genetics Education Project

Advisory Board

George Church

Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute, Director of the Center for Computational Genetics, Director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science (on human genome engineering), and Founder, Director, and guinea PiG#1 of the Personal Genome Project (PGP; PersonalGenomes.org), providing the world’s only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental, and Trait data (GET).

His 1984 Harvard PhD dissertation included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, and barcoding. These technologies led to the first commercial genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. His innovations in “next generation” genome sequencing and synthesis and cell/tissue engineering resulted in twelve companies covering a wide range of fields, including medical genomics (Knome, Alacris, AbVitro, GoodStart, Pathogenica) and synthetic biology (LS9, Joule, Gen9, Warp Drive).

His efforts have also been instrumental in establishing new privacy, biosafety & biosecurity policies. His honors include election to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and being awarded the Bower Award of the Franklin Institute for Achievement in Science.

Mike Dougherty

Associate Professor Adjoint of Pediatrics, University of Colorado

Mike Dougherty was Director of Education for the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) from 2008-2018. He currently consults on genomics and health education and serves as Associate Professor Adjoint of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. His work has focused on genomics education for audiences ranging from physicians and other health professionals to genetics faculty, trainees, and students, and he has led research efforts to better understand the teaching and learning of genetics. Prior to joining ASHG, he spent nine years on the biology faculty at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia where he was the McGavacks of Loudoun Chair in Biochemistry and taught genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry and conducted research on the genetics of neurodegenerative diseases. Dougherty has 25 years of formal genetics education experience, which began when he joined the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) as a curriculum developer and then eventually served as its associate director. He has authored/co-authored numerous textbooks, genetics curriculum modules, online programs, and scores of research articles. He has served on several boards and was most recently a member of the Genomics and Precision Health Roundtable at the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Dougherty earned his B.A. degree from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has been a Burroughs Wellcome Fellow in Alzheimer’s disease and Visiting Senior Lecturer in Eliot College at the University of Kent, UK.

Simon Lockett

Head of Communication, Research and Management, Takk International Ltd.

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Simon moved to the United States in 2011 to complete his communication and law degrees through a cultural exchange program at Pace University in New York City.

Simon works closely with Dr. Ronnie Stangler as Head of Communication, Research and Management. He assists Family Offices and the individuals they serve in navigating bespoke applications of new genomic technologies, as well as guiding their philanthropic endeavors related to new knowledge of personal and family genomics. He uniquely focuses on the complex ethical, legal, social, and behavioral implications that abound. In 2017 he assisted in co-creation of the first annual Genomics Spring Summit, “Genes, Technology, and Incalculable Ethics: The Family Office of the Future.”

Simon was awarded his Licentiate of Music in 2009 and continues to greatly enjoy classical piano.

Richard Lumb

Founder and CEO, Front Line Genomics

Richard Lumb is a scientist and social entrepreneur with an unrelenting passion for improving the positive impact of science and technology on society.

Richard is founder and CEO of Front Line Genomics, a social business with a mission to deliver the benefits of genomics to people faster. Front Line Genomics organizes the Festival of Genomics in London, as well as Special Interest Group meetings and conferences in both the US and Europe. They also publish Front Line Genomics magazine, several industry reports, webinars and a portal website for the genomics community.

Richard set up Front Line Genomics as a direct response to the death of his father from a genetically related illness. He is an advocate for extending the reach of genomics and precision medicine to all people, particularly those in underserved communities.

Richard holds a PhD in biochemistry/protein folding from the University of Manchester, a master’s degree in management from Lancaster University and a bachelor’s degree in physiology from the University of Liverpool.

Ann Merchant

Deputy Executive Director for Communications, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Ann Merchant has worked in marketing and communications for more than 25 years.  She is currently the Deputy Executive Director for Communications at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, D.C., where she is responsible for a number of innovative outreach programs that contribute to an increased public understanding of science.  With a special interest in promoting science, engineering, and medicine through non-traditional entertainment channels such as television, film, and videogames, she was instrumental in launching and now overseeing The Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences that seeks to connect entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers.  She also has responsibility for the institution’s presence at large-scale outreach events such as the USA Science & Engineering Festival.  Merchant served for many years as marketing director for the Academies’ publishing division where she and her staff promoted and marketed more than 175 new titles every year.

Ronnie Stangler

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington

Ronnie S. Stangler, M.D. is a physician and board-certified psychiatrist. Clinical Professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Dr. Stangler is an international family office consultant who creates and implements programs of health, well-being, and resilience for multidimensional financial, legal, and educational organizations, and the individuals they serve.

Dr. Stangler has unique expertise in genetics and genomics, and the applications of these transformative and disruptive technologies on families and family office organizations who serve them. In Spring 2017, she co-created with Dr. Ting Wu the first annual multidisciplinary summit, “Genes, Technology, and Incalculable Ethics: The Family Office of the Future”, hosted by the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Stangler is devoted to the development of hyperagents of change, a new generation of philanthropists and social entrepreneurs who connect financial capacity with resilient emotional disposition and moral compass. These collaborative visionaries will create original solutions to problems of global poverty, health, climate, and social justice.

Dr. Stangler’s editorial opinions have been published in The New York Times, Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer. She has been cited and has contributed extensively to multiple media outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal.

Dr. Stangler is a certified consultant in the 21/64 network of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies. She is a senior member of the examining committee of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Elected to the American College of Psychiatrists, she was also named a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. An annual award was created to honor her legacy: the Ronnie S. Stangler, M.D. Award for Creativity in Technology in Psychiatry.