Our Team

  • Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, PhD

    Chief, Division of Ethics

    Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Ph.D., is Chief of the Division of Ethics and tenured faculty in the Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics at Columbia University. Trained as a medical anthropologist, Dr. Lee has extensive experience leading multi-disciplinary bioethics research on race, ancestry and equity in genomics, precision medicine and artificial intelligence; governance of biorepositories and commercialization of biotechnology; and diversity in academic medicine and entrepreneurship. Her projects include The Ethics of Inclusion: Diversity in Precision Medicine Research (R01 HG010330), Beyond Consent: Patient Preferences for Governance of Use of Clinical Samples and Data (R01 LM012180) and Social Networking and Personal Genomics: Implications for Health Research (R01 HG005086).  Dr. Lee publishes broadly in the genomics, medical, bioethics, and social science literatures, and co-edited Revisiting Race in a Genomic Age (2008), which resulted from a two year multi-disciplinary, cross-campus dialogue supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Stanford Humanities Institute. Dr. Lee is Co-PI of the newly launched national Center for ELSI Resources and Analysis (CERA) funded by the NIH/NHGRI, a collaboration between Columbia and Stanford with partners at the Hastings Center and Harvard University. Dr. Lee is also the co-Director of the NIH/NHGRI funded biennial International ELSI Congress.

    Dr. Lee is a Hastings Center Fellow and has been an Economic and Social Research Council Bright Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, Wenner-Gren Foundation Faculty Fellow, a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in Medical Humanities and a Resident Fellow at the School for Advanced Research.  Dr. Lee has served as Chairperson of the Institutional Review Board at the Cancer Prevention Institute of California and on the NIH/NHGRI Coriell Consultation and Oversight Committee of the International Haplotype Map.  Dr. Lee currently serves on both the Scientific and Bioethics Advisory Boards of the Kaiser Permanente National Research Biobank, the NIH/NHGRI Genomics and Society Working Group, and on the editorial board of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. Dr. Lee received her doctorate from the UC Berkeley/UCSF joint program in Medical Anthropology and her undergraduate degree in Human Biology from Stanford University.

  • Rachel Yarmolinsky, MS

    Program Director

    Rachel Yarmolinsky, a longtime Director of Media Relations and Marketing at Columbia University Department of Psychiatry and a Regulatory Specialist at the Columbia University Human Research Protection Office, completed an MS in Bioethics at Columbia University in 2014. Her interests include clinical and research ethics, particularly in neuroethics and ELSI research. Ms. Yarmolinsky is experienced in event and meeting planning, science writing, graphic design, and media relations. She is on the steering committee of the Columbia University Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics, a member of the Pediatrics and Adult Medical Ethics Committees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/CUIMC, a member of the Social Services Committee of New York City’s Community Board 2, and a member of the board of Science Writers in New York.

    Rachel Yarmolinsky Photo
  • Emily Vasquez, MPhil, MPH

    Project Director

    Emily Vasquez, MPhil, MPH, ABD, is an ethnographer of science, medicine, and public health. Drawing on the sociology of health and medicine, science and technology studies (STS), and critical race studies, her research examines relationships between knowledge, technology, health, identity, and social justice. She studies these issues in the context of global health policy and initiatives, especially global and national-level responses to epidemics of chronic disease. Her research has been supported by fellowships from, among others, the National Science Foundation (Science, Technology, and Society Program) and the ACLS/Mellon Foundation. She is a doctoral candidate completing a PhD in sociology and public health in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University.

    Headshot of Emily Vasquez, PhD
  • Jessica Martucci, PhD, MBE

    Research Associate

    Jessica Martucci, PhD, MBE is a historian of science, medicine, and technology. Her first book, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America  (University of Chicago Press, 2015), examines the story behind the return of breastfeeding in the U.S. at the end of the 20th century. More generally, her research examines how people from historically marginalized or “outsider” communities interpret, create, contest, influence, and engage with expert scientific and medical knowledge. She is a member of the International Consortium on Catholicism and Medicine at KU Leuven in Belgium, where she examines the role of the U.S. Catholic Church in shaping mainstream policies and practices in healthcare. Between 2016 and 2020 she ran the Science & Disability Project, an oral history-based research program geared towards developing new historical insights and policy recommendations informed by the first-hand experiences of disabled people in STEM(edicine). As an outgrowth of that work, she co-founded the Beyond Better Project, an interdisciplinary, multi-media public medical humanities effort that seeks to destabilize ableist narratives in American healthcare through oral history, storytelling, and art. Her work has appeared in popular and academic outlets including: NursingCLIO.org, Distillations, All Of Us, the AMA Journal of Ethics, the  Journal of Women’s History, the Journal of Medical Ethics, the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, and the Bulletin in the History of Medicine, among others. Jessica received her PhD in the History & Sociology of Science and a Master’s of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania and her undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Studies from Oberlin College.

    Portrait of Jessica Martucci, PhD, MBE
  • Mike Bentz, MPH

    Research Coordinator

    Mike Bentz, MPH, worked for several years on an NIH-funded clinical trial investigating race-specific clinical therapies. This is one of the reasons for which he became interested in the justifications for such therapies and how these justifications intersect with emergent genetics technologies.

    Headshot of Mike Bentz, MPH
  • Angelica Johnson, MS

    Program Administrator

    Angelica Johnson is experienced in communications, nonprofit administration and is an accomplished digital storyteller. A graduate of Spelman College, she completed oral history research in the Bahamas and Atlanta. She completed her MS in Nonprofit Management from Columbia University SPS, where she is an advocate and mentor for the HBCU Fellowship. Angelica is interested in fostering mutual respect between academia and diverse communities. 

    Photo portrait of Angelica Johnson
  • Jon Zaikowski, MS

    Program Assistant

    Jon Zaikowski holds a MS in Bioethics from Columbia University with experience in healthcare and biotechnology business development. He served as an Associate Fellow in the Precision Medicine: Ethics, Politics, and Culture project at Columbia and is the co-founder of CapCell Biologics, a biotechnology startup developing allogeneic cell therapies.

    Head shot of program assistant Jon Zaikowski
  • Samuel Cordner

    Program Assistant

    Headshot of Samuel Cordner

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