Program Directors

Steven Joffe, MD, MPH

Founders Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy
Professor of Pediatrics

Steven Joffe (he/him) is a pediatric oncologist and bioethicist who is currently the Art and Ilene Penn Professor of Medical Ethics & Health Policy and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

Dr. Joffe's research addresses the many ethical challenges that arise in the conduct of clinical and translational investigation.  He has led NIH-, PCORI- and foundation-funded projects to study the roles and responsibilities of principal investigators in multicenter randomized trials, accountability in the clinical research enterprise, children’s capacity to engage in research decisions, return of individual genetic results to participants in epidemiologic cohort studies, the integration of whole-exome sequencing technologies into the clinical care of cancer patients, strategies for diagnosis of germline risk among young adults with cancer, and the nature and challenges of learning health systems.

Dr. Joffe attended Harvard College, received his medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco, and received his public health degree from UC Berkeley.  He trained in pediatrics at UCSF and undertook fellowship training in pediatric hematology/oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Current Trainees

Cassie Houtz

Fellow in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

Cassie Houtz (she/her/hers) received her PhD in the study of religion from Harvard University, where she considered the intersections of philosophical, religious, and biomedical conceptions of what it means to live a "good life." Her doctoral dissertation, “When Life Cannot be Lived: Biopolitics, Living Death, and Difficult Ethics,” examined ethical and political implications of the notion that a human life can be "not worth living." At Penn, she plans to work on ethical and political questions related to genetic and genomic technologies and definitions of disability, especially focusing on how notions of disability, illness, and health inform priority-setting for genetics research and intervention.

Jonathan LoTempio

Fellow in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

Jonathan LoTempio Jr. received his PhD in Genomics and Bioinformatics in a joint program through George Washington University and Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC. His dissertation, Genomics as global science: on the production, use, and sharing of sequence data, united bioinformatics work done in collaboration with teams in United States and Democratic Republic of the Congo and interdisciplinary work carried out in the European Union whilst on a Fulbright Schuman grant to Austria and Belgium. At Penn, he intends to research the ethics and policy implications of data production in anticipation of the $1000-genome assembly and the changing nature of international data sharing in the 21st century. Prior to his current appointment, he worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine’s Institute for Clinical and Translational Science on chatbot use in genomics research, fairness in sport, and bioinformatics and genome analysis in the NHGRI GREGoR Program. He holds a degree in biochemistry from the University of Rochester, where he spent time playing cello and participating in student government in addition to learning wet lab benchwork. Between undergraduate and graduate school, he served as a Scientific Program Analyst at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

Rebecca Mueller

Fellow in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

Rebecca Mueller is a historian of medicine, medical ethnographer, and licensed genetic counselor. She received her master’s degree in Genetic Counseling from Arcadia University and completed her PhD in the History & Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Her dissertation “The Genome and the Biome: Cystic Fibrosis @ Six Feet Apart,” uses cystic fibrosis as a case study of new diagnostic technologies, risk, and sociality. Her next project investigates the impact of genetic diagnoses on individuals’ conceptions of time and the future, intervening in the concept of a child’s right to an open future and adding to the nascent literature on disability and temporality. In addition, Rebecca will undertake research on the delivery and scaling of genetic counseling services in oncology in collaboration with Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. She is also a course director for ethics in Penn’s new Genetic Counseling Program

Andy Murray

Fellow in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

Andy Murray is a sociologist and scholar of science and technology studies who focuses on the relationships between emerging biotechnologies, ethics, and social justice. He received his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he also completed a designated emphasis in Anthropology and a certificate in Science & Justice. His dissertation used an ethnographic approach to analyze a social justice-oriented project to develop an open-source protocol for synthetic insulin production. Prior to joining the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy, Andy served as a postdoctoral fellow with the Global Observatory for Genome Editing at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Program on Science, Technology, and Society. While at Penn, he plans to pursue research on intellectual property and the licensing of genome editing technologies as they relate to questions of access and ethical development.

Kate Saylor

Fellow in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

Kate Saylor received her PhD in the Department of Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is interested in fairness in genetics research and genetic medicine and in how normative values and scientific evidence shape healthcare decisions. At Penn, she hopes to work on understanding and overcoming disparities in genetic healthcare utilization. Her dissertation is on fairness considerations for cost-effectiveness analysis and on the cost-effectiveness of genetic screening in the general population. She has also done empirical and normative work on disparities and inclusion in research and genetic medicine. Before graduate school, Kate worked at the National Institutes of Health as a science policy analyst from 2010-2016. And in some distant past, she studied the development of the receptor cells of the inner ear. Kate plays violin, and she likes to hike and bake.

Past Trainees

Katharine Callahan, MD

Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
Assistant Professor, Medical Ethics & Health Policy

Katharine received her MD from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2016 and completed her pediatrics residency at Columbia University in 2019. She is currently a neonatology fellow at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Her research has focused on how genetics affects clinical care, from the perspective of doctors and patients. Her most recent work explored ways to enhance physician’s understanding of disability and how learning about a patient's life beyond a genetic diagnosis can enhance medical care. Katharine combined her Neonatology and ELSI fellowships and investigated the ethical and social dynamics of genetic testing in the neonatal intensive care unit.

LaKisha David, PhD

Assistant Professor, Anthropology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

LaKisha David successfully defended her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She studies human development and family aspects of genetic genealogy. Her research examines processes of family identity development and ethnic identity development among African American adults who use direct-to-consumer genetic genealogy testing services to engage in social interactions with genetic relatives from Africa. Her research also examines the perceptions of Ghanaians interacting with African Americans identified as the genetic descendants of their ancestors who were taken away during the Transatlantic Slave Trade. From 2013 to 2016, she was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on international development in Ghana. As an ELSI post-doctoral fellow at Penn, she plans to explore ethical, legal, social, and technical implications of genetic relatedness among Ghanaian and African American families separated during the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Isabel Gabel, PhD

Instructor, Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, The University of Chicago

Isabel Gabel is a historian of science, medicine, and political thought. Her work explores how the modern life sciences created spaces of uncertainty and irresolvability which in turn reshaped the epistemological foundations of liberalism in the twentieth century. At SIFK she is working on a history of complexity, tentatively entitled At the Edges of Chaos: Complexity Theory between Science and Governance. Bringing together histories of molecular biology, cybernetics, and big data, the project explores the rise of complexity science in Europe and the United States after 1970. It charts complexity’s transformation from a mathematical approach to chaos and nonlinearity, to a set of new methods for theorizing and managing the neoliberal state in fields such as urban studies and finance. Isabel is also in the process of completing her first book, Experiments in History: French Biology and the Fate of Liberal Universalism, about the role of biology in the emergence of poststructuralism and liberal historicism after the Second World War. Isabel’s publications have appeared in journals including History of the Human Sciences and Revue d’histoire des sciences. She received her PhD from Columbia University and was most recently an ELSI Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Isabel received her PhD in history at Columbia University and from 2011-2012 was a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. To learn more about Isabel Gabel’s work and to see her publications, visit www.isabelgabel.com.

Madison K. Kilbride, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Utah

Madison Kilbride, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Utah. Dr. Kilbride’s scholarship addresses the ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genetics and genomics, with a focus on direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing. Her current research is supported by a K01 Career Development Award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Her K01 project, ”Evaluating the Risks and Benefits of the Next Generation of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Tests,” aims to develop a new approach to studying DTC outcomes that does not rely on partnering with a DTC company and can be used to study a wide range of DTC tests and companies. In studying the feasibility of her approach, Dr. Kilbride will begin to address the lack of real-world data for individuals undergoing DTC genetic testing for high-risk cancer and cardiac disease susceptibility genes. In addition to her work in ELSI, Dr. Kilbride is also interested in the physician-patient relationship and gatekeeping in medicine.

Dr. Kilbride was previously an Instructor in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Penn (2020-2021).  She was also a T32 Fellow in the Penn Postdoctoral Training Program in the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of Genetics and Genomics (2017-2020). Before coming to Penn, she earned her PhD in Philosophy (2017) from Princeton University.

Moira Kyweluk, PhD, MPH

Director of Clinical Research, Plume

Dr. Moira Kyweluk, PhD, MPH (she/her/hers) is an anthropologist, public health expert, and insights researcher. Through Third Space Research, she delivers evidence-backed research and strategic solutions to clients in the pharmaceutical, health care, retail, and technology sectors. She has applied her research expertise in diverse arenas in the public and private sector.

Kellie Owens, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics and Population Health at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Kellie Owens is a medical sociologist and empirical bioethicist whose work focuses on the ethical use of health information technologies. She is particularly interested in understanding when and how new technologies worsen or improve health inequities. Her most recent projects explore the actionability of genomic data for healthy populations. She is also interested in developing better social and technical infrastructures to support artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) tools in healthcare.

Her research is supported by an early career award from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and has won awards from the American Sociological Association, the American Anthropological Association, and the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).

Naomi Scheinerman

Assistant Professor of Bioethics, Ohio State University

Naomi Scheinerman, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Bioethics in the Division of Bioethics within the College of Medicine's Department of Biomedical Education and Anatomy. As a political theorist/bioethicist specializing in democratic theory and moral and political philosophy, her work engages with normative, conceptual, institutional, regulatory, and legal questions in science, medicine, and technology. Her three main areas of focus are analyzing the role of democratic deliberation when regulating new and emerging technologies; examining the concern of exploitation in human subject research and labor; and exploring the complexities of consent in a variety of domains, including governance, relationships, and clinical research trials and biobanks.

Prior to joining the faculty at OSU, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy (2020-2023), an AI Initiative Joint Fellow-in-Residence at Harvard University's EJS Center for Ethics and Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (2019-2020), and received her PhD from Yale University's Department of Political Science (2015-2019).

Trainers