Speakers & Discussion Leaders

Dennis Ausiello

Dennis A. Ausiello, MD is the Jackson Distinguished Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director, Emeritus of the MD/PhD Program at Harvard Medical School. He is also Chairman of Medicine, Emeritus and Director of the Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health (CATCH) at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). This Center is a partnership among MGH, MIT, and Harvard University whose mission is to develop real-time assessment of human traits in wellness and disease. In partnership with industry, it is creating tools for measurements of traditional and novel phenotypes. A graduate of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Ausiello is a nationally recognized leader in academic medicine who was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science in 1999 and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He has published numerous articles, book chapters, and textbooks and served as an editor of Cecil's Textbook of Medicine. Understanding the need for partnerships between the academy and industry, Dr. Ausiello also serves in a variety of advisory roles including his service on the Board of Directors of pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc., drug-delivery company TARIS, and interference RNA company, Alnylam.

Madeleine Ball

Madeleine Ball is Director of Research at PersonalGenomes.org and co-founder of Open Humans (www.openhumans.org). Madeleine has also been Director of Research at the Harvard Personal Genome Project – a position she still holds today. At PGP Harvard she's contributed to various aspects, including research collaborations, participant communications, and open genome interpretation methods. Work with PGP Harvard has been the inspiration for Open Humans by her and Jason Bobe. Through Open Humans, Madeleine wants to enable people to have an ongoing connection to their data and research, helping them receive and share data with diverse studies.

Christoph Bock

Christoph Bock is a genome scientist and principal investigator at CeMM. He is also a guest professor at the Medical University of Vienna's Department for Laboratory Medicine, coordinator of the Biomedical Sequencing Facility and adjunct group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. He has a background in bioinformatics and epigenomics, with a PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics (Germany) and postdoctoral research at the Broad Institute and Harvard University (Cambridge, USA).

John Chisholm

Sir John Chisholm is a Cambridge graduate who started work in the automobile industry. His career took flight when he founded CAP Scientific Ltd, which grew rapidly to become a core part of the CAP Group plc and subsequently the Sema Group plc of which he was UK Managing Director. He was then asked by the government to take on the transformation of its defence research laboratories into a commercial organisation. In due course these became an internationally successful technology services company and were floated on the LSE as QinetiQ Group plc of which Sir John became Chairman in 2006. At the same time he was asked to take the Chair of the Medical Research Council and in 2009 he also took the Chair of Nesta. Sir John retired from QinetiQ in February 2010. Sir John is a past president of the IET and holds a number of honorary Doctorates and Fellowships, including the Royal Academy of Engineering. He was knighted in 1999.

George Church

George Church, PhD is Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Wyss Institute, Director of the Center for Computational Genetics, Director of the NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science (on human genome engineering), founder of the Personal Genome Project, president of the nonprofit PersonalGenomes.org and guinea pig #1. He is a member of the NAS and NAE and Franklin Laureate for Achievement in Science.

Christiane Druml

Christiane Druml is a bioethics expert and chairwoman of the Austrian Bioethics Commission. She is also the Vice Rector for Clinical Affairs at the Medical University of Vienna. She studied law at the University of Vienna and obtained her PhD in the field of international law. From 1992 until October 2011 she was Managing Director of the Ethics Committee of the Medical University of Vienna. She has contributed to the high ethical standards for medical research, both nationally and internationally, for example as a member of the UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee.

Joel Dudley

Joel Dudley is currently Assistant Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences and Director of Biomedical Informatics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He also directs the newly formed Harris Center for Precision Wellness at Mount Sinai. Prior to Mount Sinai, he held positions as Co-founder and Director of Informatics at NuMedii, Inc. and Consulting Professor of Systems Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. His work is focused on developing and applying methods to integrate the digital universe of information to build better predictive models of disease, drug response, and wellness. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, and other popular media outlets, and he was named in 2014 as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine. He is co-author of the book Exploring Personal Genomics from Oxford University Press. He received a BS in Microbiology from Arizona State University and an MS and PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Esther Dyson

Esther Dyson is PGP research subject #3 and the founder of hiccup.co, for Health Initiative Coordinating Council. HICCup runs The Way to Wellville [at hiccup.co], an open-source, evidence-generating accelerator devoted to defining and implementing proven models for producing community health (not health care) that will return profits to investors and health to participants. The accelerator is working with five US communities over the next five years to accelerate their efforts and give their successes and (educational) failures visibility. Its slogan: “Don’t rent your health. Invest in it!" Aside from that, Dyson spends her time investing in and nurturing start-ups, with recent focus on health care and aerospace. She is an investor in 23andMe (also a director), Applied Proteomics, CUR, Eligible API, Genomera, GeriJoy, Health Loop, Health Tap, i2Dx, Keas (also an advisor), Medivo, mEquilibrium, Omada Health, PatientsLikeMe, PatientsKnowBest (UK), Resilient, Sleepio (UK), StartupHealth, Tocagen, Valkee (Finland), Vital Score, VitaPortal (Russia, also an advisor) and Voxiva (also a director). Photo credit: Tom Gruber.

Andrew Faucett

Andy Faucett is Director of Policy and Education in the Office of the Chief Scientific Officer at Geisinger Health System and Investigator II in the Genomic Medicine Institute and the Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute. He directs community engagement and public education for Geisinger’s biobank, the MyCode® Community Health Initiative. His research focuses on oversight of genetic testing, healthcare provider education, genetic counseling, rare disease test translation, patient registries, and direct-to-consumer genetic testing. He leads the NIH funded registry for the ClinGen project, GenomeConnect, and the ethical, legal and social issues aspect of the NIH funded Clinically Relevant Variant Resource section of ClinGen. He has a B.S. from the Baptist College at Charleston, M.S. in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College and board certification from the American Board of Genetic Counseling (ABGC). He has held positions at Emory; Baylor College of Medicine; Memorial Medical Center, Savannah, GA; and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He has been a member of The Personal Genome Project since 2009.

Sarah Gray

While struggling to cope with the loss of their infant son Thomas, Sarah Gray and her family met the researchers who received his eye, liver, and cord blood donations. This journey garnered national and international media attention and brought profound peace to the Gray family. Sarah is the Director of Marketing and Public Affairs for the American Association of Tissue Banks and a member of the AATB Donor Family Guidance Document Committee. She is author of a forthcoming memoir from HarperOne. Gray holds a BA in Communications from Marquette University and a Masters in Public Communication from American University, where her capstone topic was non-directed kidney donation.

Matthew Herper

Matthew Herper is a senior editor at Forbes where he is in charge of pharmaceutical and healthcare coverage both in the magazine and online. He started at Forbes in 2000, when Celera genomics was a white-hot stock, and has lived through the biotechnology industry's booms and busts ever since. Along the way he has write cover stories on overzealous drug marketing, antibiotic resistance, and genomics, profiling Jonathan Rothberg, Jay Flatley, Bill Gates, Paul Allen, and George Church. He was among the first reporters to call attention to a buried clinical trial that caused sales of Merck's Vytorin to plummet, and his analyses of R&D productivity have been used by in investor presentations by Novartis, and Johnson & Johnson.

Elaine Holmes

Elaine Holmes is the Head of the Division of Computational and Systems Medicine and a Professor of Chemical Biology in the Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College, in London, UK. She has over 20 years experience in metabonomic technology and its applications. Her focus is on the discovery and development of metabolic biomarkers of disease in personalised healthcare and population studies with significant contributions to cardiovascular, neuroscience and infectious disease research. Recently Prof. Holmes has driven large-scale profiling efforts defining the concept of the metabolome-wide association study (MWAS) in molecular epidemiology, specifically exploring the link between hypertension, diet and metabolic profiles. She has also developed methods for characterizing gut microbiome host metabolic interactions and has applied these to the study of gastrointestinal related diseases including colorectal cancer, obesity and IBD. She also has an established track record in the development of chemometric and statistical methods for analysis of Omics data.

Rachel Kalmar

Rachel Kalmar is a data scientist, community organizer, and world record holder for number of wearable sensors worn daily. Wrangling noisy data, she investigates how to make wearable and sensor data useful and interactive. A Stanford neuroscience PhD, Rachel has spent over a decade using data to explain, predict and influence behavior. She is active in the Bay Area hardware community and runs Sensored, a 1000+ person meetup group for people working on sensor devices and applications (meetup.com/Sensored). Combining her love of data, the brain, and novel visualizations, Rachel spends her weekends working on Dr. Brainlove, an interactive data platform that is a brain-shaped jungle gym the size of a bus. Rachel is an alum of the d.school, Singularity University, Rock Health, and Misfit Wearables. Her favorite hashtag is #geekparadise.

Steven Keating

Steven Keating is a doctoral candidate at the MIT Media Lab who is developing novel platforms for 3D printing, synthetic biological fabrication, and designed growth of the next generation of products. Curiosity drives his research and also saved his life through the accidental discovery of a baseball-sized cancerous brain tumor found in a voluntary academic scan. With his tumor successfully removed through awake brain surgery in 2014, Steven is an advocate for open patient data and curiosity. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Synthetic Biology. Past research projects cover a diverse range from building-scale 3D printing, to microfluidics for synthetic biology, and interactive methods to explore his own brain tumor data. From gears to genomes, he is interested in exploring new design possibilities and open health data networks. Calgary is his hometown and he is invigorated by creativity, design, and maple syrup. Website for more information: www.stevenkeating.info

Bartha Knoppers

Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD (Comparative Medical Law), holds the Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine (Tier 1: 2001 - ). Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Human Genetics, McGill University she is the founder of the Population Project in Genomics and Society (P3G) and CARTaGENE Quebec’s population biobank (30,000 indiv.). Chair of the Ethics Working Party of the International Stem Cell Forum (2005- ); Co-Chair of the Sampling/ELSI Committee of the 1000 Genomes Project (2007-2014); Scientific Steering Committee Member of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (2009- ); Chair, Regulatory and Ethics Working Group - Co-Founder and Member, Transitional Steering Committee of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. She holds four Doctorates Honoris Causa, is Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences; and Officer of the Order of Canada and of Quebec. She received the “Prix Montreal In Vivo: Secteur des sciences de la vie et des technologies de la santé” in 2012 and was named “Champion of Genetics” by the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation (2013). In 2014, she was named “Great Montrealer”, Scientific Sector, by the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Joseph Kvedar

Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Vice President, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, is creating a new model of health care delivery, developing innovative strategies to move care from the hospital or doctor’s office into the day-to-day lives of patients. In 2013, Dr. Kvedar launched Wellocracy, a leading source of impartial, easy-to-understand information on new personal “self-health” technologies like activity trackers, wireless devices and mobile apps to empower people to get and stay healthy. He is internationally recognized for his leadership and vision in the field of connected health, and has authored over 90 publications on the subject. Dr. Kvedar serves as a strategic advisor at Qualcomm Life, West Health Institute, Puretech Ventures and BD Technologies, and is a mentor at Blueprint Health, providing guidance and insight to developing companies.

Markus Müller

Markus Müller, MD is Professor, Head of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Vice-Rector for Research at the Medical University of Vienna / Vienna General Hospital (AKH). He was trained in Austria, Sweden and the US and is board certified for Internal Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology and Emergency Medicine. He is recognized for the development of clinical microdialysis and his expertise in clinical vaccine development. He served as DSMB chairman of the WHO Ebola-Consortium and was involved in the development of various other international vaccine programs (e.g. Influenza -H5N1, -H1N1, Lyme disease, Alzheimers disease). He has published over 250 articles in the field of internal medicine and clinical pharmacology.

Paul OToole

Paul O’Toole is Professor of Microbial Genomics at University College Cork, Ireland following industry and academic positions in Sweden, Canada, New Zealand and the US. His main research theme is the genomics of gastrointestinal bacteria in humans with emphasis on commensal species. In recent years he has co-ordinated and participated in several major projects that examine the composition and function of the gut microbiota, its reaction to habitual diet, and its relationship to health, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and ageing. The ultimate aim of these investigations is to develop novel therapeutics, foods and food ingredients to programme the intestinal microbiota towards promoting health. He co-ordinated ELDERMET (eldermet.ucc.ie), a nationally funded project that established diet-microbiota health interactions in 500 elderly persons, and he leads a project called ELDERFOOD that is investigating dairy-derived foods for healthy aging. He is a Principal Investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (apc.ucc.ie), in which he leads projects on microbiota in aging, and lactobacillus genomics. He leads the metagenomics work package in NuAge, an EU FP7 project on microbiota in the elderly that is anchored by University of Bologna. He is a partner in MyNewGut, another European Union project on gut microbiota, diet and behaviour in infants anchored by CSIC Valencia.

Mathew Pletcher

Mathew Pletcher serves as Vice President, Head of Genomic Discovery for Autism Speaks. As part of his role with Autism Speaks, he directs the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE) and oversees MSSNG, a collaboration between Autism Speaks, Google, and the Hospital for Sick Children, to make available in an open-access database over 10,000 whole genome sequences from families with autism. Mathew received a B.S. in biology from Duquesne University and a Ph.D. in human genetics from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has held posts at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, the Scripps Research Institute, and Pfizer Global Research and Development. In his role as Director of Medical Genetics at Pfizer, he led drug development programs for progeria, lysosomal storage diseases, sickle cell disease, myotonic dystrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He has also founded the RDH12 Fund for Sight, a non-profit organization devoted to the development of a gene therapy for a genetic form of Leber Congenital Amaurosis, a congenital blinding disorder.

Barbara Prainsack

Barbara Prainsack is Professor at the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King's College London. Her research focuses on the “real world” challenges in the governance of genomics, often by bringing marginalized and peripheral perspectives into regulatory and ethical debates. For example, Barbara carried out the first empirical study on prisoners’ understandings of forensic DNA technologies, and she brought the voice of monozygotic twins into ethical and regulatory debates on human reproductive cloning. At the moment, Barbara explores various aspects of participatory practices in medicine, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. She also seeks to participate in the formulation of new legal and ethical instruments in medicine, promoting a solidarity-based perspective (a new book on this topic, with Alena Buyx, will be published with Cambridge University Press in 2016). Last but not least, Barbara is very active in policy-related work: She is a member of the Austrian Bioethics Council, advising the federal government in Vienna; a member of the Ethics Group of the National DNA Database in the UK, and she led the European Science Foundation's (ESF) Forward Look on 'Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen' from 2011-2013 (with Aarno Palotie and Stephen Holgate).

Meredith Salisbury

Meredith Salisbury is the editorial director of Bioscribe, a boutique communications firm focused on the life sciences. She also writes regular commentary and news articles for Techonomy and helped organize the 2015 Techonomy Bio conference. She co-founded the Consumer Genetics Conference in 2009 to inspire conversation around the nascent world of personal genomics. Previously, Meredith spent more than a decade at GenomeWeb, the leading news source for the genomics community, where she oversaw significant growth of the company’s web-based news channels and its magazine, ultimately serving as co-CEO. Prior to that, Meredith was a researcher and writer at Newsweek. She earned her BA in English, political science, and journalism from the University of Notre Dame.

Tim Spector

Tim Spector is a Professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Director of the TwinsUK Registry at Kings College, London. He trained in rheumatology and epidemiology, but moved into genetic epidemiology in 1992 when he founded the UK Twins Registry, with currently 13,000 twins, which is one of the richest collections of genotypic and phenotypic information on twins worldwide. He is president of the International Society of Twin Studies and collaborates with over 120 centres worldwide. Its breadth of research has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common complex traits, many previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment. Through GWAS studies his group have found over 400 novel gene loci in over 30 disease areas. He has published over 700 research articles and is ranked as being in the top 1% of the world’s most published scientists by Reuters. He is holder of a prestigious European Research Council senior investigator award to study epigenetics as well as many other awards and grants. He is the author of several books, focusing on osteoporosis, genetics and epigenetics and has been featured widely in the media.


Giulio Superti-Furga is a molecular biologist and the Scientific Director of CeMM. He performed his undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), at Genentech (USA), and at the Institute for Molecular Pathology Vienna (Austria). He was a postdoctoral fellow and Team Leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and co-founder of Cellzome. He is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Academia Eurepaea, the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the European Molecular Biology Organization.

Sharon Terry

Sharon F. Terry is President and CEO of Genetic Alliance, a network of more than 10,000 organizations, of which 1,200 are disease advocacy organizations. Genetic Alliance enables individuals, families and communities to reclaim their health and become full participants in translational research. She is the founding CEO of PXE International, a research advocacy organization for the genetic condition pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). As co-discoverer of the gene associated with PXE, she holds the patent for ABCC6 to act as its steward and has assigned her rights to the foundation. She developed a diagnostic test and conducts clinical trials. Terry is also a co-founder of the Genetic Alliance Registry and Biobank. She is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles. In her focus at the forefront of consumer participation in genetics research, services and policy, she serves in a leadership role on many of the major international and national organizations.