Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD | Division Director
Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Ph.D., is Chief of the Division of Ethics and faculty in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University. Dr. Lee’s research focuses on the sociocultural dimensions and ethical issues of emerging technologies and their translation into clinical practice. Trained as a medical anthropologist, she studies patient perspectives on consent and governance of data and biological samples, classifications of race and population differences in human genetic variation research and commercialization of biotechnology and academic entrepreneurship.
Dr. Lee publishes broadly in the genomics, medical, bioethics, and social science literatures, and co-edited Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age (2008). Dr. Lee is a Hastings Center Fellow and has been an Economic and Social Research Council Bright Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Wenner-Gren Foundation Faculty Fellow, and a Resident Fellow at the School for Advanced Research. Dr. Lee has served as Chairperson of the Institutional Review Board at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and on the NIH/NHGRI Coriell Consultation and Oversight Committee of the International Haplotype Map. Dr. Lee currently serves on both the Scientific and Bioethics Advisory Boards of the Kaiser Permanente National Research Biobank, the NIH/NHGRI Genomics and Society Working Group, and on the editorial board of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics.
Dr. Lee received her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University and her doctorate in Medical Anthropology from the joint University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco (UCB/UCSF) Program. She was a Rockefeller Foundation postdoctoral fellow in Medical Humanities and a NIH postdoctoral fellow in bioethics and genetics at Stanford University. Before joining Columbia in January 2019, Dr. Lee conducted research for nearly two decades at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics and taught in the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS) at Stanford University.
Rachel Yarmolinsky, MS | Program Director
Rachel Yarmolinsky, a longtime Director of Media Relations and Marketing at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and a Regulatory Specialist at the Columbia University Human Research Protection Office, completed an MS in Bioethics at Columbia University in 2014. Her interests include clinical and research ethics, particularly in neuroethics and ELSI research. Ms. Yarmolinsky is experienced in event and meeting planning, science writing, graphic design, and media relations. She is on the steering committee of the Columbia University Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics, a member of the Medical Ethics Committee at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/CUIMC, a member of the Social Services Committee of New York City’s Community Board 2, and a member of the board of Science Writers in New York.
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Emily Vasquez, Ph.D | Project Director
Emily Vasquez is an ethnographer of science, medicine, and public health. Drawing on the sociology of health and medicine, science and technology studies (STS), and critical race studies, her research examines relationships between knowledge, technology, health, identity and social justice. She studies these issues in the context of global health policy and initiatives, especially global and national-level responses to epidemics of chronic disease. Her research has been supported by fellowships from, among others, the National Science Foundation (Science, Technology, and Society Program) and the ACLS/Mellon Foundation. She is a doctoral candidate completing a PhD in sociology and public health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University.
Mike Bentz, MPH | Research Coordinator
Mike Bentz was born and raised in a small town in New Jersey, after which he attended Sarah Lawrence College for a BA and UC Berkeley for an MPH. Mike worked for several years on an NIH-funded clinical trial investigating race-specific clinical therapies. This is one of the reasons for which he became interested in the justifications for such therapies and how these justifications intersect with emergent genetics technologies. In his downtime, Mike enjoys exploring on his bike, cooking, and playing the drums.