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Over the last few months, SCi underwent exciting changes in leadership. Dr. Dan Pomeroy and Dr. Natalie Kofler are now serving as co-directors of the program, bringing their extensive experience to guide SCi towards realizing its mission of improving the depth and degree of meaningful interactions between scientists and society. 

Dan has been a part of SCi since its inception in 2018, initially as a member of the Leadership Team and then as the first Executive Director. He led SCi’s strategic planning and fundraising efforts as well as developed both the Massachusetts State House Fellowship and the Civic Science Clinic. Natalie joined SCi in 2020 as strategic advisor and curriculum lead. In those roles, she built out SCi’s curricular portfolio, which now consists of ethics nanocourses, a semester-long “Ditching the Deficit Model” science communication course, and online learning modules. Natalie’s leadership has been instrumental in forging new partnerships for SCi, successful grant awards, and the creation of innovative training opportunities both in the classroom and beyond. 

With their visionary leadership and passion for training socially-minded scientists, Dan and Natalie will drive the strategic direction of SCi, fostering collaborations and spearheading innovative initiatives to meet the evolving challenges and opportunities in STEM education. They both bring a deep understanding of the gaps in current graduate education, recognizing the need for STEM students to develop skills to effectively engage in public work. Dan and Natalie’s collective expertise and commitment to a more diverse and inclusive science education will drive SCi’s mission forward, ensuring the program thrives and evolves to meet the ever-changing landscape of STEM education.

Prior to joining SCi, Dan developed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Policy Lab at the Center for International Studies, which creates and enhances relationships between MIT researchers with the public policy makers. He serves on the external advisory board and steering committees of a number of programs designed to increase civic engagement and expand career opportunities for scientists and engineers. These include Boston University’s Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training (BEST) program and the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dan received his Ph.D. in physics from Brandeis University in 2012 studying high energy physics. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Academy of Sciences and as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy fellow in the office of Senator Edward J. Markey. He also has extensive experience in grassroots political organizing, running volunteer LGBT rights campaigns, as well as professionally directing field offices during the 2008 elections.

Natalie is deeply committed to creating innovative learning experiences that guide scientists to think critically and broadly about the social implications and ethical considerations of scientific innovation. She co-developed and co-teaches “Ditching the Deficit Model: Science Communication for Ethical Community Engagement,” “Environmental Ethics and Justice,” and the nanocourse series on the “Governance and Ethics of Biotechnology.” Issues of justice and access deeply inform her work. She takes great pride in making SCi curriculum open-access and available to all; she led the development of SCi’s open-access CRISPR Online Learning Module. Natalie is the founding director of Editing Nature – a global initiative to steer responsible development and deployment of genetic technologies. She is a leading voice in CRISPR and synthetic biology ethics and governance, authoring numerous publications on the topic, serving on expert panels, and contributing to UN mandated documents. Her work has been highlighted by The New York Times, Science, Nature, NPR, CBC radio, Pacific Standard Magazine, and National Geographic. She is an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Harvard Medical School and served as a visiting fellow at the Harvard University Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics, a resident scholar in sustainability a the University of Illinois and a visiting scholar at the Hastings Center for Bioethics. She received her PhD in cellular, molecular, and medical biosciences and MS in human nutrition and metabolic studies from Columbia University and her BS in human anatomy and cell biology from McGill University.

SCi is delighted to announce Dr. Chelsea Marcho joined the team as the new Program Coordinator. Chelsea brings a wealth of expertise and experience in science communication and science policy with a strong focus on addressing global challenges through thoughtful scientific engagement.

Chelsea Marcho SCi Headshot

In her previous role in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Chelsea served as a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and International Research Advisor, where she played a pivotal role in driving innovation and fostering collaboration across the research portfolio. Notably, she led the Research Community of Practice communications team, focusing on translating research advancements to a wide variety of audiences. She also managed a variety of U.S. university research programs, organized internal and external scientific meetings and seminars, and utilized her technical background to inform policy. Her culminating achievement was co-leading the drafting of the U.S. Government Global Food Security Research Strategy, a key interagency strategy for international research investments.

Chelsea holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where her research focused on epigenetic regulation during early mammalian development. After completing her graduate training, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the UMASS School of Public Health and currently serves as a visiting scholar in the College of Natural Sciences.

In her new role, Chelsea will collaborate closely with SCi’s co-directors to shape and implement the strategic vision for ongoing and upcoming programming and will play an important role in  enhancing the impact and sustainability of SCi.

“Advances in gene editing have made the process of changing an organism’s genome more efficient, opening up a range of potential applications, including pest control. At the request of Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has formed an expert panel to examine the scientific, bioethical, and regulatory challenges associated with the use of gene-edited organisms and technologies for pest control.”

SCi Co-director Natalie Kofler has been appointed to the Canadian Council of Academies Expert Panel on Gene-edited Organisms for Pest Control.


Learn more about the council on the CCA website.

A technician from Oxitec inspects the pupae of genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes in Campinas, Brazil.
Photo thanks to Andre Penner.

Through new genetic modification technologies, scientists have been able to reshape nature with an increasing amount of power. Most are familiar with work on modified crops that make farming easier and earn larger profits for corporate developers, but new work has developed promising a “friendly” mosquito.

SCi Co-director Natalie Kofler talks to the LA Times about the need for transparency about why experiments are being done on mosquitos and the ethical impact of the actions.

Read the post, “In California, an army of genetically engineered mosquitoes awaits release. Will it backfire?” by Melody Petersen to learn more.