Personal Genetics Education Project

Sandra de Castro Buffington

Sandra de Castro Buffington is a thought-leader and catalyst in entertainment for social change. As the Founding Director of the Global Media Center for Social Impact at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, Sandra harnesses the storytelling power of television, film, music and new media to improve health and well-being of people worldwide. The Center, based in Los Angeles, actively engages entertainment leaders to create compelling storylines that accurately address a full range of socially provocative issues, including health, immigration, racial justice, gender/LGBT equality, and climate change. 

Sandra works closely with Hollywood, Bollywood, and other creative capitals of the world to inspire and develop storylines that have profound impact on knowledge and behavior. Previously, as the director of Hollywood, Health & Society at USC’s Norman Lear Center, Sandra created a global network of centers, including India and Nigeria with the hub in Hollywood, to improve the accuracy of health-related storylines in top television programs and films. This groundbreaking work resulted in 565 aired-storylines in 91 shows across 35 networks between 2009 and 2012. For her work, Sandra was named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in America by Poder magazine in 2011-2012.

George Church

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.

Juan Enriquez

Mr. Enriquez is an experienced business leader, author, and academic who is recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences.  He is a Managing Director in Excel Venture Management, a venture capital firm that invests in companies that apply transformative life science technologies to solve problems in healthcare and beyond. He was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project.  He then founded Biotechonomy LLC, a life sciences research and investment firm, where he remains as Chairman and CEO.  In July of 2005, he co-founded Synthetic Genomics, Inc., a synthetic biology company focused on developing and commercializing genomic-driven solutions to address global energy, medicine, clean water, and food challenges.  He has been an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors.

While at Harvard, he wrote various articles and case studies, won a McKinsey Prize, and published the best-selling As the Future Catches You, an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society.  His most recent publication is an eBook co-authored with Dr. Steve Gullans, Homo Evolutis: A Short Tour of our New Species, which describes a world where humans increasingly shape their environment, themselves, and other species.

Mr. Enriquez serves on a number of boards including Cabot Corporation, Synthetic Genomics, Catch.com, Shape Up, the Public Interfaces Steering Committee of the Division of Earth & Life Sciences of the National Academy of Sciences, The Genetics Advisory Council of Harvard Medical School, The Chairman’s International Council of the America’s Society, and the Visiting Committee of Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center. He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with Honors.

Marc Hodosh

Marc Hodosh has held leadership roles in a variety of enterprises, many of which engage the public in diverse areas including, medicine, genome research, and robotics.  As Co-Creator of TEDMED, he developed an annual medical event that continues to shape conversations among pioneers who come from wide ranging fields including technology, entertainment, politics, and of course, healthcare.

He has led the Archon X PRIZE for Genomics, a $10 million competition to inspire rapid, accurate and cost effective genome sequencing technology, wherein the winning team will have to sequence 100 centenarians within 30 days for less than $1,000 per genome.  The Archon X PRIZE follows the $10 million Ansari Space X PRIZE, which was the first prize to be sponsored by the X Prize Foundation.

Mr. Hodosh has also been a consultant to inventor Dean Kamen at DEKA Research & Development and is Chairman of Mr. Kamen’s FIRST Robotics competition in the Boston area.  Originating in Manchester, New Hampshire, the mission of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is to inspire high school students to pursue careers in science & technology.

Earlier, Marc founded and sold ID One, which specialized in facial recognition technology for the U.S. military and intelligence communities.  Just prior, he led business development at Viisage Technology, a biometric and secure ID company.  Marc’s first business endeavors began by inventing and importing a variety of consumer products from Asia, with distribution through Bed Bath & Beyond, QVC television, Toys-R-Us, and others.