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Advisory Board

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.

Hal Edgar, LLB
A.B., Harvard, 1964; LL.B., Columbia, 1967. Writing and research editor, Columbia Law Review. Law clerk to Harold Leventhal, Circuit Judge of the District of Columbia Circuit. Joined the Columbia faculty in 1968. Has taught in diverse areas, including constitutional law, contracts, criminal law, and law and science. Served in 1968-70 with the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, participating in numerous test cases in the welfare field. Fellow of the Hastings Center, a group that studies the social implications of innovation in biomedical technology. Served as the reporter for the UNESCO International Committee on Bioethics, which drafted the International Declaration on Human Rights and the Human Genome, subsequently adopted by UNESCO and approved by the United Nations. Principal current interests are law and technology and law and medicine; has published in both fields.

Carolyn Mazzu Genovesi, JD
B.A. History, St. John’s University, 1985, cum laude; J.D., St. John’s University, 1988.  Ms. Mazzu Genovesi has spent the majority of her career working in the New York State court system.  She is currently legal counsel for the New York State Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District of the Appellate Division, Second Department, where she investigates ethical violations related to lawyers’ conduct and their obligations under the New York Rules of Professional Responsibility.  In addition, she teaches continuing legal education courses related to ethics, for various legal associations.  Ms. Mazzu Genovesi recently served as a Law Clerk to Justice Robert A. Miller of the Appellate Division, Second Department, writing and researching appellate court decisions.  She also served as a Law Clerk in Supreme Court, Kings County, having been assigned to numerous judicial parts, handling different areas of the law, including the New York State Mental Hygiene Law.  Ms. Mazzu Genovesi was an Assistant District Attorney in Nassau County, New York, working as a trial attorney and supervisor, specializing in arson and domestic violence cases.  In addition, for the last decade, she served as an elected trustee and president of a New York State public school board, where in addition to her role as trustee, she advocated for issues related to public education, educational funding, and special education services, writing to and testifying before various state agencies.

Dan Geschwind, MD, PhD
Secretary: Jenifer Sakai, JSakai@mednet.ucla.edu
Dr. Daniel Geschwind is the Gordon and Virginia MacDonald Distinguished Chair in Human Genetics and is a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine. He is director of the Neurogenetics Program and the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) and co-director of the Center for Neurobehavioral Genetics at UCLA. Dr. Geschwind obtained an A.B. in psychology and chemistry at Dartmouth College and his M.D./Ph.D. at Yale School of Medicine prior to completing his internship, residency, and postdoctoral fellowship at UCLA. He joined the UCLA faculty in 1997.

In addition to his research, Dr. Geschwind is active on the scientific advisory boards of the March of Dimes (Committee C), Cure Autism Now Foundation (now Autism Speaks), Faculty of 1000 Medicine, the NIMH Scientific Advisory Council. He received the Derek Denny-Brown Neurological Scholar Award from the American Neurological Association in 2004, the Scientific Service Award from Autism Speaks in 2008, and was inducted into the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in 2011.

Laura Hercher, MA, MS, CGC
Laura Hercher is Director of Student Research at the Sarah Lawrence College Joan H. Marks Human Genetics Program. Her teaching and research focuses on ethical, legal and social issues in medical genetics. Her work has explored the potential costs and benefits of using genetics to determine who is at risk for mental illness, beginning with an article entitled The Risk of Being At Risk, published in 2005. She is a member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors and chaired the NSGC Ethics Advisory Group from 2010-2013, as well as task forces on genetic testing of minors, incidental findings in genetic testing and cloning by somatic cell nuclear transfer. In addition, she co-authored the NSGC white paper on stem cell research and therapy. As a writer as well as a counselor, her goal has been to make unfamiliar and technically complex subject matter accessible to a wide audience. She is a founding member of and frequent contributor to the DNA Exchange, a blog for the genetic counseling community. She has published original research, commentaries and science journalism, including articles in Scientific American and Wired. Her first novel, Anybody’s Miracle, was published in 2013.

Eric Juengst, PhD
Eric Juengst is Director of the UNC Center for Bioethics and Professor in the Department of Social Medicine and the Department of Genetics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He received his BS in Biology from the University of the South in 1978, and his PhD in Philosophy from Georgetown University in 1985. He has taught medical ethics and the philosophy of science on the faculties of the medical schools of the University of California, San Francisco, Penn State University, and Case Western Reserve University. From 1990 to 1994, he served as the first Chief of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Branch of the National Center for Human Genome Research at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, and from 2005-2010 he directed the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law at CWRU, an NIH-supported Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research (CEER). He currently leads the “Translation to Policy” program at the UNC CEER, the Center for Genomics and Society, and co-directs the CEER Consortium Coordinating Center.

Dr. Juengst’s research interests and publications have focused on the conceptual and ethical issues raised by new advances in human genetics and biotechnology. Since 1997 he has been the principal investigator of a series of NIH-funded research projects examining the ethical and social policy issues that will be raised by the availability of genetic and genomic technologies. His current R01 project examines ethical and social implications of Personalized Genomic Medicine as a paradigm for health care, with collaborating sites in Montreal, Cleveland, and Corvallis, OR.

Jamie Levey, MBA
Jamie Levey currently works at CHDI Foundation, Inc., as Director of Business Development (www.chdifoundation.org). She is also the Chief Operating Officer of the European Huntington’s Disease Network (EHDN: www.euro-hd.net), primarily responsible for the business, operational and administrative aspects of the network. As a member of a family affected by HD, as well as a non-profit professional, she is regularly confronted with bioethical issues and concerns. She currently serves on the HD Steering Committee at the Terence Cardinal Cooke Health Care Facility in Manhattan.

Prior to entering the non-profit sector, she was an international investment banker, focused on sustainability in the fields of life sciences, information technology and environmental sciences. Jamie received an MBA in Finance and Investments from CUNY Baruch College in New York. She was a founding member of the NYC Metro Social Investment Forum and the portfolio manager of Switzerland’s first socially responsible investment fund, GlobalCare.

Alondra Nelson, PhD
Alondra Nelson is professor of sociology and gender studies
at Columbia University. An interdisciplinary social scientist, she writes about the intersections of science, technology, medicine and inequality. These themes are taken up in her most recent book, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination, winner of four professional prizes, including the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award from the Race, Class and Gender section of the American Sociological Association.

She is also an editor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race,and History, Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life, and “Afrofuturism,” a special issue of Social Text.

Ken Schaffner, MD, PhD
Distinguished University Professor and University Professor of Philosophy, Psychology, and Professor of Psychiatry (secondary) at the University of Pittsburgh. Before returning to Pittsburgh, he was University Professor of Medical Humanities and Professor of Philosophy at the George Washington University. His most recent book is Discovery and Explanation in Biology and Medicine, published in 1993 by the University of Chicago Press. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow and has published extensively in philosophical and medical journals on ethical and conceptual issues in science and medicine. His recent work has been on ethical and philosophical issues in human behavioral and psychiatric genetics, and he is in the final editing stages of a book on Behaving: What’s Genetic and What’s Not, and Why Should We Care? for Oxford University Press. Dr. Schaffner, who was trained both in philosophy (Ph.D.) and in medicine (M.D.), is a Fellow of both the Hastings Center and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is a former Editor-in-Chief of Philosophy of Science (1975-80).

Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD
Dr. Jordan Smoller is Associate Vice Chair of the MGH Department of Psychiatry and Director of Psychiatric Genetics. He is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.  He is Director of the Psychiatric and Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit in the MGH Center for Human Genetics Research. Dr. Smoller also serves as co-director of the Genetics and Genomics Unit of the MGH Clinical Research Program. Dr. Smoller is an Associate Member of the Broad Institute and a Senior Scientist at the Broad’s Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research.

Dr. Smoller earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his medical degree at Harvard Medical School.  After completing residency training in psychiatry at McLean Hospital, Dr. Smoller received masters and doctoral degrees in epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.   He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the NIMH Training Program in Psychiatric Genetics.

The focus of Dr. Smoller’s research interests has been the identification of genetic determinants of childhood and adult psychiatric disorders.  Dr. Smoller and colleagues have also been studying genetic predictors of treatment response and the ways in which advances in genetics may impact clinical practice in psychiatry. He is an author of more than 200 scientific articles, book chapters and reviews; the recipient of numerous research awards; and a principal investigator on NIH-funded studies of the genetics of anxiety and the genetics of bipolar disorder, major depression and schizophrenia as well as brain imaging phenotypes. He is also the author of The Other Side of Normal (HarperCollins/William Morrow, 2012).