Director, Paul S. Appelbaum, MD
Dr. Appelbaum is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law at Columbia University. A primary focus of his work is issues related to the use of genetic and genomic data. He has over 3 decades of experience with empirical research on ethical and legal issues in medicine, collaborating with colleagues in law, ethics, psychology, and sociology. He is principal investigator on an NHGRI R21 grant examining informed consent in the return of incidental findings from genomic research to subjects, and co-investigator on an R01 grant on the consequences of return of genomic data. In addition, he teaches a seminar on Genetics and the Law at Columbia Law School. Dr. Appelbaum is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.
Deputy Director, Ruth Ottman, PhD
Dr. Ottman is Professor of Epidemiology (in Neurology and the Sergievsky Center), Deputy Director for Research, Sergievsky Center, and Research Scientist, New York State Psychiatric Institute. She is a genetic epidemiologist with more than 30 years of experience in research on the role of inherited factors in susceptibility to neurologic disorders, primary focusing on seizure disorders. Her research group was the first to recognize the familial epilepsy syndrome “autosomal dominant partial epilepsy with auditory features” and to identify LGI1 as a major susceptibility gene for the disorder. She is currently a coinvestigator in the Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project, a large consortium whose aim is to collect dense phenotypic information and DNA on ~3500 individuals with epilepsy, to be used for gene discovery, and is also a principal investigator of Epi4K, a NINDS-funded Center without Walls for Research on the Epilepsies, whose goal is to identify genes that influence risk for epilepsy by sequencing the genomes of 4,000 affected individuals. She is actively engaged in research on the psychosocial issues related to genomic analysis and genetic testing in the epilepsies. This work includes qualitative research and a much larger NIH-funded study that uses quantitative (survey) research methods and will include more than 1,000 individuals from families containing multiple individuals with epilepsy.
The Center’s Core Faculty work with the Director and Deputy Director to oversee and carry out the Center’s work. Its members are researchers with training in psychiatry, neurology, psychology, genetics, pediatrics, bioethics, public policy, epidemiology, law and genetic counseling.
The Center’s Advisory Board meets annually to review the Center’s activities and its plans for the coming year. Its members are experts and stakeholders with knowledge and experience in clinical genetics, molecular genetics, ELSI research, bioethics, law, public policy, advocacy for persons with genetic disorders, and experience with having a genetic disorder.
The Center’s Faculty Associates are involved in Center projects and activities. They come from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds, including sociology, economics, law, and medicine.
The Center’s Post-Doctoral Fellows receive training in the conduct of research on the ethical, legal and social implications of advances in genetics and conduct their own focused research project under supervision of Center Core Faculty.