Project news

May 17, 2011

Synthetic Biology Project Welcomes Public Policy Scholar

Genya Dana joins the project as its first policy scholar

The Synthetic Biology Project welcomes its first public policy scholar, Genya Dana, to the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Dr. Dana will be exploring the process of Comprehensive Environmental Assessment (CEA) as it applies to synthetic biology. Her work will examine whether CEA can be an effective screening tool for the initial framing and identification of risks across the life cycle of emerging synthetic biology applications. She will also be designing and testing participatory, interdisciplinary hazard identification techniques used in the fields of invasion biology and engineering (e.g. event trees, hierarchical holographic modeling) for their applicability to synthetic biology applications.

Dr. Dana currently holds a postdoctoral fellowship at the US Environmental Protection Agency where she assists with stakeholder engagement in the agency’s nanotechnology risk research strategy development. She received her PhD in ecological risk assessment and MSc in science, technology and environmental policy from the University of Minnesota’s Conservation Biology Program and Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

She conducted her dissertation research on environmental risk assessment and biodiversity in South Africa, and continues to work internationally to train scientists and policy makers on participatory methods for evaluating ecological risks of introduced species and genotypes, often as part of agriculture and aquaculture development projects. She is interested in applying her skills in risk assessment to the emerging field of synthetic biology, with the aim of helping ensure the biosafety of products under research and development.

Her full biography can be found here.