Research Staff

Tacy Abbott joined Stanford in May 2012 as an Administrative Associate for the Division of Medical Genetics and the MS program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling. Currently, she is the coordinator for the MS program in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling and is very excited for the opportunity to support CIRGE activities. She has a BA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz.

Bela Fishbeyn studied Bioethics at Columbia University as part of the inaugural class of the school's MS Bioethics program. After completing her coursework, she was awarded a Fulbright Research Grant to Russia to work on her thesis. While in Russia, she investigated how the conceptual framework and moral attitudes behind Russian physicians' understanding of addiction might influence the design of addiction related health policy. She also holds bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and photography, each with highest honors, from UNC-Chapel Hill. To complete these degrees, she conducted research for and wrote theses on both the influence of More  pornography on moral judgment and the structure of Jewish-Muslim relations in Russia. She is delighted to be part of SCBE as the Executive Editor for the American Journal of Bioethics and the coordinator for the Benchside Ethics Consultation Service.


Previous Staff Members

Colleen Berryessa graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a degree in Government with secondary study in Mind, Brain and Behavior. Colleen's main academic and research focus is on the legal, social, bioethical, and policy-oriented effects of advances in neuroscience, behavioral genetics, and other sciences and technology on criminology, criminal justice, law, punishment, the legal system, and public policy. Accordingly, her Harvard senior thesis explored how new scientific understandings of the origins of sexually deviant and pedophilic behavior could change and affect current American criminal justice policy and legislation, as well as the societal, cultural, ethical, and legal reactions to these changes and future policies. She is the current Program Manager for the Center for the Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics (CIRGE) at SCBE.

Emily Borgelt was the Project Manager of a NHGRI-funded R01 grant titled "Social Networking and Personal Genomics: Emerging Issues for Health Research (PI: Sandra Soo-Jim Lee, Ph.D.). She also works with Chris Scott on projects related to stem cell ethics and education. Emily holds a B.S. in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology from Emory University and a M.A. in Bioethics from Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining SCBE, she worked as a Research Coordinator at the National Core for Neuroethics, University of British Columbia and as a manager of the group's Clinical Neuroethics program.

Angie Boyce - Former Project Manager for CIRGE

Vivian Chin - Vivian Chin graduated with a B.A. in Neuroscience and Behavior from Barnard College, Columbia University in May 2006. Her first significant research project in college was on physical chemistry using the Scanning Tunneling Microscope where she explored surface dynamics of mixtures of chiral molecules in solution semiabsorbed on graphite surfaces. She presented her paper at the American Chemical Society Conference in San Diego (2005). Later, she completed a neuroscience research thesis on the regulation of feeding behavior where she studied the orexigenic effects of the neuropeptide, ghrelin, on specific hypothalamic nuclei in the rat. In college, she also devoted her time serving as an EMT for Columbia's Emergency Medical Service. Vivian first became strongly interested in neuroethics from taking a college class devoted to the field. In her role as program coordinator for the Stanford Program in Neuroethics worked on two research projects. The first explored trends in studies on incidental findings found in the human brain. The second investigated reasons for why women should care about neuroethics

Molly Havard joined SCBE in April 2010 as an administrative assistant. She graduated from Stanford University in 2010, majoring in Human Biology with a focus in Biochemical Threats. At Stanford, she was a founding member of the Stanford Student Society for Stem Cell Research and designed a student initiated course entitled “Introduction to Stem Cells: An Interdisciplinary Approach.” She was a violinist in the Stanford Symphony Orchestra and has run in two marathons. In her role as a Research Assistant, she helped with CTSA projects and a NSF curriculum development grant for stem cell education.

Lisa Hisaw joined SCBE as a fulltime Research Assistant in 2008 after she graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and minor in Economics. During her junior and senior years, she worked as a Student Assistant with Dr. LaVera Crawley comparing the quantity and quality of Direct-to-Consumer Advertising (DTCA) of pharmaceuticals in ethnic and general interest magazines and analyzing focus groups of African American and Caucasian physicians to assess how DTCA has affected their practices. In her role as a Research Assistant, she helped with a pilot study on social media websites as a venue for health message distribution and More  factor in medical decision making. She helped develop and code a database of hundreds of MySpace blogs that discussed the HPV Vaccine, Gardasil. In Fall 2009, Lisa left SCBE to pursue her M.D. at University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine.


Jennifer Ladd - Jennifer Ladd was the Program Manager of CIRGE from 2008 to 2010, coordinating the research, teaching and administrative activities of the Center. Jennifer graduated with distinction from Stanford University in 2008, receiving a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology. Her honors thesis, for which she was awarded the Firestone, was entitled The Role of ETS Transcription Factors Erg and Fli-1 in the Differentiation of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells. In addition to pursuing her strong interests in lab science and medicine, Jennifer delved into bioethics through courses at Stanford and a tutorial during a study abroad term in Oxford. She was also co-Editor-in-Chief More  of Stanford Scientific Magazine, previously holding the positions of Head Ethics & Policy Editor and Features Editor. At CIRGE, Jennifer worked on several research projects, including an investigation of life scientists' views on their responsibilities to society and the potential impacts of their research and a study on the U.S. print media's portrayal of the ethical issues stemming from personal genomics. Jennifer left SCBE in Fall 2010 to pursue her M.D. at Stanford University, School of Medicine.


Martine Lappé was a research assistant at CIRGE and a doctoral candidate in Sociology at the University of California, San Francisco. Her dissertation focuses on the social dimensions of research on environmental factors and gene-environment interactions in autism. Martine earned her BA in Sociology and a minor in Health Care/Social Issues, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2004 from University of California, San Diego. Her undergraduate thesis titled: "Investigating Risk: Structural Influences, Gender Power Dynamics and Social Capital in Relation to Women's HIV Prevention" received highest distinction. Before coming to CIRGE, Martine worked at the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies as a member of several domestic and international HIV More  research teams. She is interested in medical sociology, feminist and risk theories, and ethical issues related to complex disease research. Martine was with CIRGE for over two years and worked on projects related to autism and ethics.


Haerin Lee joined SCBE in September 2008 as an Administrative Associate and Research Assistant. Haerin graduated from Stanford University in 2008 with B.A. in Human Biology, Area of Concentration: Infectious Disease and Human Care. At Stanford, Haerin was a member of the Stanford synchronized swimming team, served as a hospital coordinator for a student volunteer organization, and studied sex differences in autoimmune disease. She also volunteered at an orphanage in Olasiti Village, Tanzania. At SCBE, Haerin worked on CTSA projects in research ethics and assisting with daily center functions. Haerin left SCBE in Fall 2010 to pursue her M.D. at Vanderbilt University, School of Medicine.

Inna Sayfer is the current Research Project Manager for Human Microbiome Project. Inna holds a Stanford B.A. in Quantitative Economics and a Ph.D. in Political Science. Inna’s doctoral thesis looked at the political economy of Russia’s dependence on trade in oil and gas. Prior to joining the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Inna worked as an Associate Researcher with the Stanford Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (part of FSI). Her most recent publication is a co-authored chapter on Russia’s gas giant Gazprom to be published by Cambridge University Press in November 2011 in an edited volume titled Oil and Gas: State Owned Enterprises And The World’s Energy Supply. Inna is looking forward to the opportunity to work on understanding ethical issues associated with Microbiome research.

Hywote Taye graduated in 2012 from Stanford University with an MA in Philosophy. She concentrated in Ethical Theory as well as Philosophy of Language. In 2011, she also received her BA from Stanford, where she majored in Human Biology with a concentration in Bioethics and a minor in French. During the summer of 2010, she interned at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics under the direction of Dr. Sandra Lee and assisted her in investigating the relation between social media and direct to consumer genetic testing. She returned to the Center in July of 2012 and will serve as Executive Editor for the American Journal of Bioethics as well as coordinator for the Center's Benchside Ethics Consultation Service.

Simone Vernez was the Project Manager of the NHGRI funded R01 Grant Project: Social Networking and Personal Genomics: Emerging Issues for Health Research (PI: Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Ph.D). Simone graduated from Stanford with a BA in International Relations. While at Stanford, she worked in the Department of Psychiatry processing functional and structural brain imaging for pediatric and teen bipolar projects. Simone also worked alongside Dr. Herbert L. Abrams continuing a comprehensive study on the United States Nuclear Personnel Reliability Program, identifying risks for nuclear accidents by assessing stability among those who work most More  closely with nuclear arms. Additionally, she was a tutor coordinator of the Ravenswood Reads early literacy program at Haas Center for Public Service.


Isabelle Wijangco focuses on global health policy and women’s empowerment. After graduating from Stanford in 2012 with a B.A. in Human Biology, she was a Stanford Ford Fellow in Philanthropy at the United Nations Foundation in New York. There, she worked with the Every Women Every Child movement to launch a project demonstrating the multidimensional returns on investment in family planning. She also helped facilitate global health and global South engagement in Post-2015, an unprecedented UN process to decide the next generation's international development priorities following the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals. Before then, More  she researched political determinants of health foreign aid at the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute and worked on global health operations at the Office of the Surgeon General. She plans to begin a pre-medical post-baccalaureate program next Fall, as she hopes to combine a career in global women's health policy and medicine. She is the current Project Manager for an NIH-funded grant studying attitudes about the ethics of research on medical practice.


Maya Wolpert was the Program Manager of CIRGE, Center for the Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics. She graduated from Stanford as a Human Biology major with a concentration in Bioethics, and has worked at SCBE for four years. She has spent her summers conducting AIDS research in South Africa, interning at the NIH Bioethics Center, and at Cleveland Clinic studying conflicts of interest in biomedical research. Her work was most recently published in the AAMC's June 2010 Report.