Personal Genetics Education Project

Meet our staff

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

twu@genetics.med.harvard.edu

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.

Robin Bowman, M.Ed.

Professional Development Associate

rbowman@pged.med.harvard.edu

Robin joined the pgEd team in the summer of 2018, and has experience in healthcare, education, community organizing, and activism. Robin’s particular areas of interest include the social justice issues related to new genetic technologies, sexual orientation and gender identity, and healthcare access. An advocate for inclusion, Robin believes in the power of education and respectful dialogue to foster a more just societyRobin holds a B.S. in Athletic Training from Ball State University and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Nebraska.

Marnie Gelbart, Ph.D.

Director of Programs

mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu

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

mhannan@pged.med.harvard.edu

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.

Johnny Kung, Ph.D.

Director of New Initiatives

jkung@pged.med.harvard.edu

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.

Vika Parris, M.A.

Community Engagement Liaison

vparris@pged.med.harvard.edu

Vika is a holistic educator and social justice advocate for issues impacting the lives of marginalized communities of color. She believes that social emotional health is an integral part of education within the classroom, community and support system, and works to integrate interdisciplinary themes of healing and holistic education in her work with youth and women. Vika received her B.A. in International Development and Social Change and her Masters in Community Development and Planning, both from Clark University.

Florcy Romero, M.A.

Curriculum Developer and Community Liaison

fromero@pged.med.harvard.edu

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.

Dana Waring, M.L.A

Education Director and Co-founder of pgEd

dwaring@pged.med.harvard.edu

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.