Scientific Advisory Board


Serafim Batzoglou, PhD
Associate Professor of Computer Science, Stanford University

Serafim Batzoglou is associate professor of computer science at Stanford University. His primary research interests are in the application of computer science to molecular biology. Currently, his research focuses on novel alignment algorithms, comparative genomics, sequence assembly, gene regulation, and networks of protein interactions. Dr. Batzoglou holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a M. Eng. in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an S.B. in computer science and mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been the recipient of the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the National Science Foundation CAREER award, and was named as one of the Top 100 Young Technology Innovators of 2003 by the MIT Technology Review Magazine.


George Church, PhD
Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School

George Church is professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Computational Genetics. With degrees from Duke University in chemistry and zoology, he co-authored research on 3D-software and RNA structure with Sung-Hou Kim. His Ph.D. from Harvard in biochemistry and molecular biology with Wally Gilbert included the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984; initiating the Human Genome Project then as a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. and a Monsanto Life Sciences Research Fellow at UCSF. He invented the broadly-applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers. Technology transfer of automated sequencing and software to Genome Therapeutics Corp. resulted in the first commercial genome sequence (the human pathogen, H. pylori, 1994). He has served in advisory roles for 12 journals, 5 granting agencies and over 20 biotech companies. Current research focuses on integrating biosystems-modeling with personal genomics and synthetic biology.


Michael Eisen, PhD
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Professor of Genetics and Development, University of California, Berkeley

Michael B. Eisen is an evolutionary geneticist at the University of California at Berkeley. He received his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Harvard College in 1989. He received a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 1996 for his doctoral research on influenza virus proteins structure and function. After a summer working as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer, he joined the laboratories of Patrick O. Brown and David Botstein at Stanford as a postdoctoral fellow. Working with Brown and Botstein, Eisen pioneered methods for the analysis of data from genome-wide expression studies. In 2000, he moved to Berkeley, where he is currently a professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. He has received numerous awards for his research accomplishments, including being named a 2001 Pew Biomedical Scholar, receiving a 2004 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (the highest award bestowed by the US government to scientists at the beginning of their independent research careers), and becoming an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 2008.

In addition to his research, Dr. Eisen has been a leading advocate for the free flow of biological data and information among scientists and between scientists and the public. In 2000 he co-founded, along Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown and former NIH Director Harold Varmus, the Public Library of Science (PLoS). PLoS is a not-for-profit scientific publisher dedicated to making the world’s scientific information a freely-available public resource. PLoS has become the leading publisher of open-access journals, whose contents are always freely available for anyone to read, download and reuse.


Marcus Feldman, PhD
Professor of Biological Sciences, Stanford University

Marcus W. Feldman is a professor of biological sciences at Stanford University. He uses applied mathematics and computer modeling to simulate and analyze the process of evolution. Specific areas of research include the evolution of complex genetic systems that can undergo both natural selection and recombination and the evolution of learning as one interface between modern methods in artificial intelligence and models of biological processes, including communication. He also studies the evolution of modern humans using models for the dynamics of molecular polymorphisms, especially DNA variants. He is one of the originators of the quantitative theory of cultural evolution, which he applies to issues in human behavior. Dr. Feldman has a large research program on demographic issues related to the sex ratio in China. He is managing editor of Theoretical Population Biology and associate editor of Genetics, Human Genetics, Annals of Human Genomics, Annals of Human Biology, and Complexity.

Dr. Feldman is a member of the American Society of Naturalists, former editor of The American Naturalist, a member of the American Society of Human Genetics, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the California Academy of Science. His work received the “Paper of the Year 2003” award in all of biomedical science from The Lancet. He has been awarded an honorary doctorate of philosophy by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is an Honorary Professor at Bejing Normal University and Xi’an Jiaotong University. He is the author of more than 390 scientific papers and six books on evolution, ecology, demography, and mathematical biology. He received his B.Sc. in 1964 from the University of Western Australia, his M.S. in 1966 from Monash University, Australia, and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1969.


Stanley Nelson, MD
Professor and Vice Chair of Human Genetics, Professor of Psychiatry,
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles

Stanley F. Nelson, M.D. is professor and vice chair of human genetics and professor of psychiatry within the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA where he has been on faculty since 1993. Dr. Nelson attended the University of Michigan and obtained a B.S. degree in physics in 1982. He graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 1987 and completed an ITT International Fellowship to Sweden in the Laboratory of George Klein. He was trained in pediatrics and pediatric hematology-oncology at UCSF School of Medicine, and subsequently trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Patrick Brown from 1990-1993 where he developed genomic mismatch scanning and initiated the lab development of DNA microarrays for genomic applications. At UCLA, Dr. Nelson has continued to be interested in technology development and application of genomics to cancer biology and common human diseases with active research areas in Autism, ADHD, vertigo and brain cancers. He developed and continues to direct the UCLA DNA Microarray Facility which provides access to whole genome expression array analysis for faculty on campus and for the NIH Neuroscience Blueprint.


Jonathan Pritchard, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Biology, Stanford University

Jonathan Pritchard is a professor of genetics and biological sciences at Stanford University. His work focuses on applications of statistics and population genetics to the study of human genetic variation. Dr. Pritchard has made key contributions to the understanding of human population structure and human evolution, and to statistical methods for identifying the genetic basis of common disease. In 2000, with coworkers Matthew Stephens and Peter Donnelly, he developed the structure algorithm, a clustering method for studying population structure and estimating the ancestry of individuals. The structure method is now used in a wide range of applications in genetics, and has been applied in well over 1000 scientific papers. Dr. Pritchard received B.S. degrees in mathematics and biology from Pennsylvania State University (1994), and a Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University (1998). He was a postdoctoral fellow in statistics at the University of Oxford prior to joining the faculty at The University of Chicago in 2001. In 2013, Dr. Pritchard joined the Genetics and Biological Sciences Departments at Stanford University.


Uta Francke, MD
Professor of Genetics and Pediatrics Emerita, Stanford University

Dr. Francke joined 23andMe as a consultant from 2007-2010 and then as Senior Medical Director from 2010-2013. Dr. Francke, who holds an M.D. from the University of Munich, Germany, joined 23andMe’s Scientific Advisory Board in 2013. She is also professor emeritus of Genetics and Pediatrics at Stanford University, on recall, where she teaches medical, molecular, and clinical genetics. Dr. Francke’s past research has ranged from human and mouse chromosome identification and gene mapping to the discovery of genes involved in heritable disorders, studies of their functions and of disease-causing mechanisms. Applying genomic technologies to mammalian genetics research, she has focused on the development of mouse models for human microdeletion syndromes. Dr. Francke is board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Medical Genetics in Clinical and Molecular Genetics and Cytogenetics. She has been an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the recipient of several awards, including the Antoine Marfan Award from the National Marfan Foundation, the Colonel Harland Sanders Lifetime Achievement Award in Genetics from the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and the 2012 William Allan Award from the American Society of Human Genetics. She is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is a past president of the American Society for Human Genetics and of the International Federation of Human Genetics Societies and a founding member of the American College of Medical Genetics.

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