The Team

george churchGeorge M. Church, Ph.D. is Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and Director of the National Institutes of Health Center for Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard. Dr. Church is the founder and Director of the Personal Genome Project, the world’s only “open source” genome project and aggregator and repository for human Genomic, Environmental & Trait (GET) data. His 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing, barcoding & automation. These led to the first commercial genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in  1994 . His innovations in 2nd and 3rd generation genome sequencing, and in synthesis and engineering in cells and tissues have to date resulted in at least 12 companies including medical genomics ( Knome, Alacris, AbVitro, GoodStart, Pathogenica), synthetic biology ( LS9, Joule , Gen9, Warp Drive ) as well as new privacy, biosafety & biosecurity policies. His honors include election to the U.S. National Academy of Science  and the National Acadamy of Engineering and he is a Franklin Laureate for Achievement in Science.


preston estepPreston W. Estep III, Ph.D. is the Director of Gerontology and Director of Collections at the Personal Genome Project. At the PGP he is responsible for sample collections and for managing the genome sequencing pipeline. He is a current and past chief scientific officer and adviser to several biotech startups and nonprofit organizations. Dr. Estep received his B.S. from Cornell University, and his Ph.D. in Genetics from Harvard University, where he worked in the Harvard Medical School lab of Professor George Church. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Mind First Foundation.



Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D. is the McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Kessler’s research deals broadly with the classification and social determinants of mental health and illness. He is the author of over 600 publications and the recipient of many awards for his research, including the Senior Scientist and MERIT awards from the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been the most widely cited researcher in the world in the field of psychiatry and psychology every year since 2002. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and, as of 2012, he is the only mental health epidemiologist elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Kessler is the Principal Investigator of the US National Comorbidity Survey, the first nationally representative survey of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in the US, and he is a Co-Director of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative, a series of comparative community epidemiological surveys of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders and treatment for these disorders in 28 countries around the world. In addition to his epidemiological studies, Kessler is involved in evaluating a number of innovative programs for the prevention and treatment of mental illness in high-risk segments of the population. Dr. Kessler is the Principal Investigator of the Harvard Medical School site for Army STARRS, a research program funded by the US Army and the National Institute of Mental Health to study risk and protective factors for suicide among Army personnel.


Martine_RothblattMartine Aliana Rothblatt, Ph.D., J.D. is an American lawyer, author, and entrepreneur. Rothblatt graduated from UCLA with a combined law and MBA degree in 1981, then began work in Washington, D.C., first in the field of communication satellite law, and eventually in life sciences projects like the Human Genome Project. She is the creator of GeoStar and the satellite radio industry, and is the founder and former CEO of Sirius Radio. Dr. Rothblatt has a Ph.D. in medical ethics and is the founder and CEO of United Therapeutics Corp.


Alex Hoekstra has spent much of his young career having ambitions that (vastly) exceed his credentials.

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