Personal Genetics Education Project

Upcoming Events

April 26, 2014

Program at Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School

pgEd director, Ting Wu, will be heading to Missouri to talk about our mission for raising awareness on personal genetics as a panelist in a program at Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School (MICDS). Ting will be joined by Flora Lichtman, a science journalist, formerly of NPR’s Science Friday and whose work has appeared in the The New York Times, Popular Science and The Atlantic.

Date: April 26, 2014
Venue: MICDS
Saint Louis, MO, United States

May 13, 2014

Congressional Briefing

Personal genetics:

Scientific advances and accelerating public awareness

A congressional briefing
Sponsored by the Office of the Honorable Louise M. Slaughter, House of Representatives
Organized by the Personal Genetics Education Project (pgEd), Harvard Medical School

Focusing on raising public awareness of personal genetics, this briefing will consist of three parts. We will begin by highlighting exciting developments in the fields of genetics, personalized medicine, and genetic engineering (no background in genetics necessary), describing how they are transforming health and reproductive medicine, law, business, sports, and employment. This introduction will also tackle ethical and social issues related to genetic technologies. The briefing will then illustrate the strategies that pgEd has found especially effective in reaching the public. Finally, drawing from the knowledge of Congressional members and staffers about their constituencies, the briefing will address how best to coordinate efforts for accelerating public awareness. Experts who will facilitate discussions include:

  • Genetics:
    George Church, Professor, Harvard Medical School and MIT; Director of the NIH Center of Excellence in Genomic Science; Director of the Personal Genome Project
    Heidi Rehm, Chief Laboratory Director, Partners Healthcare Laboratory for Molecular Medicine; Associate Professor of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
    Jeff Schloss, Director, Division of Genome Sciences, NIH/NHGRI
    Ting Wu, Professor, Harvard Medical School; Director, Personal Genetics Education Project
  • Education: Michael Dougherty, Director of Education, American Society of Human Genetics
  • Community and youth engagement: Enrique Legaspi, Chief of Staff,’s Foundation, Boyle Heights
  • Faith-based efforts: Amy Wilstermann, Associate Professor, Calvin College
  • Entertainment: Ann Merchant, Deputy Executive Director for Communications, The National Academies, The Science and Entertainment Exchange
  • Gaming, Map-Ed.orgCarlos Olguin, Head of Bio/Nano/Programmable Matter Group, Autodesk Research

Why: A safe and fair integration of genetics into society will require an informed public, one in which all individuals are aware of the benefits and implications of personal genetics. As the field of genetics is advancing at an unprecedented speed, the need to accelerate awareness is clear.

For further information, contact Marnie Gelbart at (617) 432-1797 or

Start: May 13, 2014 12:30 pm
End: May 13, 2014 2:00 pm
Venue: Rayburn House Office Building, The Gold Room, Room 2168
Phone: 617-432-1797
Washington, DC

July 29, 2014 – July 31, 2014

Professional Development Summer Institute

July 29-31, 2014; 9:00-3:30

Boston, MA

Earn 18 PDPs for the three-day session

Cost: $50 (scholarships available)

Personal Genetics in the High School Classroom: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues

This three-day training for teachers will be an introduction to personal genetics and its impact on society. A wave of personal genetic information is coming – how can we prepare students to make informed choices for themselves and for society as a whole? This training will have two tracks; though both will explore ethical and social issues, one track will delve more deeply into the scientific concepts and be most appropriate for science teachers, while the other will focus on historical events and social issues, and be more appropriate for social studies and English teachers. Several sessions will be in the larger group.

Current high school students are among the first generation that will have unprecedented access to information about their DNA, as genome sequencing and genetic testing become cheaper and more available.  We create interactive lessons that engage students in discussions about the potential risks and benefits of knowing more about your DNA, as well as ways in which they could be impacted. Our goal is to combine accurate scientific content with the real-world impact on people and the choices they may face.

Through workshop-style sessions, we will look at the hopes, realities and controversies in personal genetics. Lessons we will explore include: An Introduction to Personal Genetics, Genetics, Jobs & Your Rights, Genetics and Reproduction, DNA, Crime and Law Enforcement, as well as several others. The training will also include a session by a professor of social work who will address strategies for discussing personal and sometimes upsetting topics with students who may be personally affected by these issues.

Topics to be covered: Advances in personal genetics, the intersection of athletics and genetics, genetics and aggression/complex human behavior, reproductive genetics, low cost genetic testing, the history of eugenics and future of genetics, crime and DNA, and critical thinking as it applies to assessing genetic risk factors.

Content Area: Biology, Social Studies, Health, Genetics, Law and Bioethics; grades 8 – 12


To register, click here. For more information  email Lauren Tomaselli at, or call (617) 432-1797.


Start: July 29, 2014 9:00 am
End: July 31, 2014 3:30 pm
Venue: Harvard Medical School
Phone: (617)432-1797
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, MA, 02115, United States
Cost: $50