Mission, Vision & Core Values
To support coordination among stakeholders that enables the development and dissemination of scientifically rigorous information, consensus best practices guidance and standards, and administrative, regulatory and technical advice and training that will advance responsible research, development and, if warranted, implementation of genetic biocontrol technologies to eliminate vector borne diseases and improve public health.
An environment in which gene drive and other genetic biocontrol technologies for public health can be safely, ethically and rigorously studied, developed, tested, and, if warranted by appropriate decision makers, responsibly implemented at appropriate scale to have positive health impact.
Public Good: Deemed trustworthy in all plans and actions, and with all stakeholders; serving the public interest; information and output shared broadly as a public resource
Proactivity: Forward-thinking to pave the way as technology advances; prepared for risks to avoid or respond to crises
Transparency: Openness in plans, actions, decision-making and data
Neutrality: Not advocating on behalf of any stakeholder or product
Scientific Rigor: Supportive of a rigorous scientific process for gene drive development; credible source of evidence-based information on the science for all stakeholders
Consensus Building: Seeks effective partners, supporters and stakeholders; inclusive incorporation of voices from diverse stakeholders to reach consensus
The GeneConvene Global Collaborative is staffed by a team of experienced technical, regulatory and administrative experts providing a resource for accurate and timely information, advice and support to foster a responsible approach to research and governance of gene drive and other genetic biocontrol technologies for public health. The team is located in Maryland and Michigan, USA, and Nairobi, Kenya.
Brinda Dass, PhD
Senior Technical Expert, Policy Lead for GeneConvene
Dr. Dass has a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, an MPH and extensive experience in transgenic laboratory animal care and use, preclinical drug testing, clinical trial management, and review of new animal drug dossiers for genetically engineered products.
Renata Hoffstetter, MS
Senior Project Manager, Population Health Science
Ms. Hoffstetter has experience providing organizational support and managing complex projects, including for a not-for-profit organization focused on stabilization initiatives in conflict zones and local commercial enterprises investment projects.
Stephanie James, PhD
Senior Scientific Advisor, Population Health Science
Dr. James has a Ph.D. in microbiology and a background in research on parasitic diseases. She has more than 30 years of experience in research administration, having led global health programs at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases/NIH, the Ellison Medical Foundation and the FNIH.
David A. O’ Brochta, PhD
Senior Technical Expert, Technical Lead for Gene Drive Research
Dr. O’Brochta is trained in entomology and molecular genetics and is founding Director of the Insect Transformation Facility in the University of Maryland. His research experience focused on the development of transgenic insect technologies and their applications to fundamental and applied problems in medical and agricultural entomology.
Hector Quemada, PhD
Principle Research Associate at Western Michigan University
Dr. Quemada has a Ph.D. in molecular biology and more than 20 years of experience in training and capacity building with regulators in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.
Michael Santos, PhD
Senior Vice President, Chief Population Health Science Officer
Michael Santos is Senior Vice President, Science Partnerships, and Chief Population Health Science Officer. He is responsible for a portfolio of programs supporting biomedical innovation to improve health and health equity globally. He also directs the GeneConvene Global Collaboration, an initiative advancing informed decision making about the development of genetic biocontrol technology for public health.
Prior to joining the FNIH in 2019, Dr. Santos was at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where he served as a Deputy Director in the Global Health division accountable for strategy and operations across the Discovery & Translational Sciences, HIV, and TB programs. His responsibilities included developing investment strategies for emerging priorities, leading the team and processes that supported investment making and management, and reporting on team strategy and progress. He was also a Strategy Advisor on the Strategy, Innovation, and Impact team, developing perspectives on the philosophy of philanthropy.
Previously Dr. Santos was a Principal at Boston Consulting Group, where he led projects on malaria, HIV, contraceptive technology, global health regulatory systems, and public radio and contributed to strategies in the energy and environment, health care, industrial goods, consumer, and retail sectors. His first career was astronomy: he holds a Ph.D. from Caltech and was a research fellow at the University of Cambridge and the Space Telescope Science Institute.
Willy Kiprotich, PhD
CEO of the Environmental Health and Safety Consultancy, Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya
Dr. Kiprotich has a Ph.D. in Immunology and more than 15 years of experience building networks and providing leadership in biosafety. He is the immediate former Chief Executive Officer at the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Nairobi, Kenya.
Susan Wiener, MA
Program Manager, Population Health Sciences
Ms. Wiener has more than 15 years of experience in global health project management and grants management. Before joining the FNIH, she was a programmer and conducted research and evaluation for not-for-profit organizations.
The GeneConvene Global Collaborative is a program of the FNIH, a U.S. not-for-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization created to advance biomedical discoveries leading to improved health outcomes. GeneConvene is governed by the FNIH Board of Directors, with an expert Advisory Board informing decisions and a Management Team leading the strategic planning, managing activities development and execution, and facilitating partner interactions.
Christian Borgemeister, PhD
Director, Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany
Dr. Borgemeister is an entomologist whose research has focused on biological control and integrated pest management in the tropics for improved food security, and vector control of infectious diseases like malaria as part of a One Health approach. He has done extensive work in Africa. He previously served as the Director General of the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Nairobi, Kenya. Dr. Borgemeister is on the Board of Trustees for the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (Nigeria). In addition, he is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, the Royal Entomological Society, the Entomological Society of America, and a member of several national and international academic organizations.
Abdallah Daar, DPhil
Emeritus Professor of Clinical Public Health; Global Health; and Surgery, University of Toronto. In Toronto he was also Senior Scientist, University Health Network/Toronto General Hospital Research Institute; and Director of Ethics and Commercialization, Sandra Rotman Centre Professor
Daar’s academic career has spanned biomedical sciences, organ transplantation, surgery, global health and bioethics. He has worked in various advisory or consulting capacities with the UN, the World Health Organization and UNESCO, and is co-founder of the non-profit Grand Challenges Canada. He was a member of the African Union High Level Panel on Modern Biotechnology, and currently serves on the AU High Level Panel for Emerging Technologies. He is a recipient of the UNESCO Avicenna Prize for Ethics of Science. His major research focus is on the use of life sciences to ameliorate global health inequities, with a particular focus on building scientific capacity and increasing innovation in developing countries. Professor Daar is a Permanent Fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. His major work there has been on Developmental Origins of Health and Disease; and more recently on Artificial Intelligence and Digital Diagnostics. In 2017 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work in global health and in establishing Grand Challenges Canada. His 7th book “Garment of Destiny” was published in October 2018.
Founder and Executive Director, Speak Up Africa, Dakar, Senegal
Ms. Djibo is the Founder and Executive Director of Speak Up Africa, an advocacy and communications organization that facilitates African leadership and ownership in tackling critical issues affecting the continent. Previously, she worked as the Senegal Country Director for Malaria No More and consulted for NetGuarantee, an innovative finance mechanism that accelerates delivery of mosquito nets to families in Africa. Ms. Djibo coordinated several high-profile campaigns and events throughout Senegal to create an engaging platform for malaria prevention and treatment. Prior to joining the fight for child health, she worked in the private sector in finance, real estate development and insurance as managing director of a life insurance company from 2006–2010.
Ann Kingiri, PhD
Senior Research Fellow, Science, Technology & Innovation (STI), African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS), Nairobi, Kenya
Dr. Kingiri pursues interdisciplinary research on integrated approaches to agricultural development and innovation with relevance to Africa’s inclusive and sustainable development. She pursues policy oriented research in STI, agriculture and bioenergy, including climate change and gender as cross-cutting themes. She is currently involved in research and advocacy focusing on fourth industrial revolution with relevance to Africa. During her tenure as Director of Research at ACTS, Dr. Kingiri coordinated generation and dissemination of STI knowledge through research, policy analysis and capacity building. She has held appointments and served on committees for the World Economic Forum, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (Task Force on Synthetic Biology and Biodiversity Conservation), and the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (including on the committee for the report “Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values”).
Bernard Nahlen, MD
Director, Eck Institute for Global Health, Dept of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA
Dr. Nahlen has spent his career working to address the many diseases that disproportionately impact people in low- and middle-income countries. He has served as the Deputy Coordinator of the US President’s Malaria Initiative and worked to expand that program into 24 high-burden countries in Africa as well as to Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as developing effective partnerships with Ministries of Health, multilaterals (WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, World Bank, the Global Fund), other bilateral aid agencies in the UK and Australia and other organizations.
Nicholas O. Oguge, PhD
Associate Professor of Environmental Policy, Centre for Advanced Studies in Environmental Law and Policy, University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
Dr. Oguge’s has more than 28 years of postdoctoral experience spanning academia, research, resource management, project management and community outreach. Professor Oguge was a Coordinating Lead Author for the African Region during the recent Global Assessments of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by IPBES. He is currently managing a suite of environmental research efforts, including the NIH/IDRC funded Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) East African Hub, where he is the Kenya PI. He is the Chief of Party for the Economics of Natural Capital in East Africa Project, a USAID project managed by Environmental Incentives. He is one of 20 recipients of the UK Research and Innovation grant through the Global Challenges Research Fund, a peer reviewer with NERC (UK) and a past member of the Scientific Review Committee (SRC) at the Socio-Environmental Synthesis Centre (SESYNC), University of Maryland, USA. Professor Oguge is also the founding president of the Ecological Society for Eastern Africa (ESEA) and member of the Editorial Board, African Journal of Ecology.
Elias Zerhouni, MD
Professor Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University; Co-Founder and Chairman, ModeX Therapeutics
Dr. Elias Zerhouni was most recently the President, Global Research & Development, and a member of the Executive Committee for Sanofi from January 2011 to July 2018.
Dr. Zerhouni’s academic career was spent at the Johns Hopkins University and Hospital where he was professor of Radiology and Biomedical Engineering and senior adviser for Johns Hopkins Medicine. He served as Chair of the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Vice Dean for Research, and Executive Vice Dean of the School of Medicine from 1996 to 2002, before his appointment as Director of the National Institutes of Health from 2002 to 2008.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Dr. Zerhouni as one of the first presidential U.S. science envoys.
Dr. Zerhouni also served as senior fellow to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation from 2009 to 2010. He authored more than 200 scientific publications and is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine and the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.