Personal Genetics Education Project

Housed in Wu laboratory 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 2007, 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.

Meet our staff:


Ting (C.-ting) Wu, Ph.D.

Director and Co-founder of pgEd, Professor of Genetics
twu@genetics.med.harvard.edu

Ting Wu is involved in all aspects of pgEd, including teaching in high schools, workshops, and conferences across the nation, contributing to the online curricula, organizing the GETed conferences, working with producers and writers in the entertainment industry, and developing Map-Ed. 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. She was an Associate Editor of Genetics and a member of the Editorial Board of Epigenetics and Chromatin. Most recently, Dr. Wu was honored as a recipient of an NIH Director’s 2012 Pioneer Award for her work on chromosome organization and inheritance.

Marnie Gelbart, Ph.D.

Director of Program Development and National Initiatives
mgelbart@pged.med.harvard.edu

Marnie is leading initiatives for advancing national awareness about the benefits as well as ethical, legal, and social implications of knowing one’s genome. She is the scientific advisor for pgEd’s curriculum and leads professional development trainings and classroom workshops for teachers and students. Recently, Marnie served on the educational advisory committee for the Smithsonian exhibit “Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code” and was an invited participant at the 2011 NHGRI workshop on genomic literacy. She organizes the GETed Conference, works with television writers and producers in conjunction with Hollywood, Health & Society, and is developing the Map-Ed game (www.Map-Ed.org) to infuse a viral energy into genetics education. 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.

Lauren Tomaselli, M.Ed

Director of Curriculum and Training
ltomaselli@pged.med.harvard.edu

Lauren leads pgEd’s effort to develop scientifically precise and engaging curriculum for use in secondary and college classrooms, with a special emphasis on accessibility to learners of different levels and backgrounds. She organizes and executes professional development workshops to train teachers about the ethical and social issues in personal genetics and travels extensively to engage with students and teachers on these issues. Recent projects include writing new curriculum, planning a summer professional development workshop, and launching a pilot of pgEd’s lessons with teachers in New England. Lauren received her B.A. in English and Women’s Studies from Syracuse University, and her Masters of Social Studies Education from New York University. She taught social studies in New York City public schools for six years and brings an interdisciplinary approach to curriculum planning, allowing pgEd to create materials not just for biology classrooms, but also health, social studies, history and law.

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 widespread 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 with a focus 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 Summer Course in Genomics at Mount Desert Island Biology Lab and developing new content for pgEd’s website. 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.

Clifford Jones

Program Assistant
cj@pged.med.harvard.edu

I am a student as well as a youth mentor and community leader, with a primary focus of raising awareness about personal genetics. I got involved with pgEd shortly after meeting with Dr. Wu in my high school classroom. She spoke about how genetics is getting more personal due to the rapid growth of the field assisted by technological advances. Ever since, I have been eager to learn more and then share my knowledge with others, encouraging them to explore the benefits and risks of knowing their genetic makeup.

Marie Shea

Program Assistant and Design Consultant
mwu@pged.med.harvard.edu

Marie Shea is a photographer and model in Boston, MA. She has worked for CB magazine since 2012 and completed her photography thesis at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2013. Her lifelong interest in genetics led her to merge her interests at pgEd.

Tsion Tesfaye

Washington, D.C. Liaison
ttesfaye@pged.med.harvard.edu

Tsion is interested in the issues at the nexus of bioethics and public policy. She was a research fellow at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, where she examined bioethical issues in persons living with disabilities, medical scope of practice legislation, and the use of games to promote public health in medically underserved communities. She received her B.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and previously worked in the rural health care division of USAC, a Federal Communications Commission program.