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Staff, Fellows, and Contributors

Staff can be contacted via email, using the first letter of the first name and the full last name, at geneticsandsociety.org. Thus, John Doe would be jdoe[AT]geneticsandsociety[DOT]org.

Click on the name of each program staff member to see their talks, articles, news and blog posts.

Marcy Darnovsky, PhD, Executive Director, speaks and writes widely on the politics of human biotechnology, focusing on their social justice and public interest implications. Her articles have appeared in The Nation, Democracy, Harvard Law and Policy Review, The American Interest, Alternet, Science Progress, The Journal of Life Sciences, Modern Healthcare, Contraception, Bioethics Forum, Tikkun and many others. She has appeared on dozens of television, radio, and online news shows and has been interviewed and cited in hundreds of news and magazine articles. She has worked as an organizer and advocate in a range of environmental and progressive political movements, and taught courses at Sonoma State University and at California State University East Bay. Her Ph.D. is from the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Charles Garzón, Director of Finance and Administration, has many years of experience working with public policy and advocacy organizations. Most recent, he has been associated with a progressive policy think-tank and legal defense fund located in New York City. He holds a Bachelor's in Politics and Sociology as well as a Master's degree in Political Science with emphasis in international relations.

Jessica Cussins, Project Associate, graduated from UC Berkeley in 2012, earning her B.A. with a major in Sociocultural Anthropology and a minor in Peace and Conflict Studies. As a student, she worked for a non-profit organization addressing the issue of access to scientific education in public schools. Since graduation, she has worked for CGS undertaking research and analysis of technical and policy developments in human genetic and reproductive technologies, as well as taking the lead on event planning, media, and communications initiatives. She is interested in the intersection of human biotechnologies with social justice, specifically in how assisted reproductive technologies and the testing and collection of genetic information blur traditional lines between personal choices, public policy, and market influences. She is interested in looking at not only what these issues mean for individuals, but at their broader societal consequences, specifically in regards to racial, gender, health, and economic disparities. She is a regular blogger at Biopolitical Times, Psychology Today, and the Huffington Post


Osagie K. Obasogie, JD, PhD, is Senior Fellow at the Center for Genetics and Society. He is Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings College of Law in San Francisco with a joint appointment at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. His writings have spanned both academic and public outlets, with journal articles in the Stanford Journal of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, and Trends in Pharmacological Sciences along with commentaries in Slate, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and New Scientist among others. He contributes regularly to CGS’s blog Biopolitical Times and is the former director of CGS’s Project on Bioethics, Law, and Society. Obasogie received his B.A. with distinction from Yale University, his J.D. from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a fellow with the National Science Foundation.

Blog contributors

Pete Shanks MA, attended Oxford University, where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and moved to California in the mid-1970s. He has been active in a range of local and international political movements, while mostly making his living in the publishing industry, especially on the production side; he enjoys the craft of bookmaking. Appalled by the eugenic possibilities of biotechnology, he has worked with the Center for Genetics and Society since its earliest days. He is the author of Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed (Nation Books) and a regular contributor to Biopolitical Times.


Richard Hayes, PhD, is currently visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley College of Natural Resources / Energy and Resources Group.  He was founding executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society, serving in that role from 2001 through 2012. He has written and spoken widely concerning democratic governance of science and technology, economic inequality, and the need for social oversight of the new human biotechnologies. Hayes has been active in social and political organizing since his student days at UC Berkeley in the 1960s. In the 1970s he worked as a community organizer with a wide range of progressive organizations. In the early 1980s he served as executive director of the San Francisco Democratic Party and ran the electoral field operations for the late Congressmembers Phillip Burton and Sala Burton. From 1983 through 1992 he served on the national staff of the Sierra Club, first as assistant political director and then as national director of volunteer development. In the early 1990s he was chair of the Sierra Club's Global Warming Campaign Committee. In 1999 he began the work that lead to the creation of the Center for Genetics and Society in 2001. He holds a PhD in Energy and Resources from the University of California at Berkeley. His current website is For A Human Future.


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