By building a unique interdisciplinary program that aims at transparency and inclusion of diverse perspectives in long-term, rigorous dialogue, NC State, through the creative visions of Dr. Jennifer Kuzma and Dr. Fred Gould, will have a global impact on the design and development of genetically engineered organisms. By combining expertise in biological sciences, social sciences and the humanities, we will help citizens and policymakers make informed decisions by giving them information developed through detailed research and thorough deliberation.

Other goals of the center are to increase the research being done in these academic areas on NC State’ campus, to partner with industry partners doing research so that the GES Center will be the destination for anyone who is interested in the science, policy, history, market or business or environmental and health impacts of genetic engineering.


Research Leaders

Dr. Jennifer Kuzma

Jennifer KuzmaDr. Jennifer Kuzma joined NC State University in August 2013 as the Chancellor’s Faculty Excellence Program to co- direct the GES Center. She is the Goodnight-Glaxo Wellcome Distinguished Professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs. Dr. Kuzma was recently named to the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Future Biotechnology Products, a 13-member group advising federal regulatory agencies on emerging advances in biotechnology. She also teaches and advises students in the NSF-IGERT funded Ph.D. minor program in Genetic Engineering and Society: The Case of Genetic Pest Management.

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Her research focuses on governance systems for emerging technologies, particularly genetic engineering for environmental, agricultural, health and industrial applications. Currently, emerging technologies are moving at a rapid pace, but often societal responses lag behind. Understanding the social-ecological-technological systems and the underlying dynamics can help to guide decisions-makers and the public towards better governance models. With these goals in mind, she explores the values, organizations, and outcomes associated with existing oversight systems in order to inform future policy-making. Her work draws on developing methods for integrating multiple disciplines in a policy sciences approach. It is also translational, striving to engage and serve stakeholders and citizens who come from a variety of perspectives and expertise areas. As such, she and colleague Professor Fred Gould (CALS) will co-direct a new center on Genetic Engineering and Society to help support bi-directional learning and communication among academe and public and private organizations.

Prior to coming to NC State, she was a faculty member in science and technology policy at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota Minneapolis, USA (2003-2013); study director at the National Academies of Science in Washington DC for genetic engineering and bioterrorism (1999-2003); and a American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Risk Policy Fellow at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (1997-1999). Her recent research includes work an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant on synthetic biology and risk governance policy processes and tools; an National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for an international, deliberative workshop on gene drive technologies and the ecological and societal aspects of their application to pest and disease management; and an NSF research grant for exploring meanings of responsible innovation in different communities and organizations involved in genetic engineering debates. She has over 100 scholarly publications on emerging technologies, particularly biotechnology and nanotechnology, and governance. She engages in national and international policy conversations surrounding genetic engineering, biotechnology and nanotechnology issues and currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System and the Council on Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) Committee on Gene Editing. She has held several leadership positions, including the Society for Risk Analysis Council & Secretary, Chair of the Gordon Conference on Science and Technology Policy, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Blood Products Advisory Committee, and the United Nations World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO-FAO) Expert Group for Nanotechnologies in Food and Agriculture. In 2014, she received the Society for Risk Analysis Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer Award for recognition of her outstanding contributions to the field of risk analysis. She has been called upon in national media for her expertise on genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and biotechnology policy issues, including recently in the Washington Post, Scientific American, New York Times, 2015 World’s Fair exhibit, Nature, and National Public Radio. Prior to moving into public policy and social science in 1997, from 1986 to 1997, she was a natural scientist doing research in microbiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. She holds a patent for the discovery of bacterial isoprene emission from her Ph.D. work in biochemistry, and her postdoctoral work in plant molecular biology resulted in a publication in the journal Science. Learn more about Dr. Jennifer Kuzma.

Dr. Fred Gould

Fred GouldDr. Fred Gould, co-director of the center, is a William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Entomology who has done cutting-edge research in the area of ecology and evolutionary biology. An elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, Gould studies the ecology and genetics of insect pests to improve food production and human and environmental health.

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He serves on the National Academy of Sciences committee on “Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences.” He also serves on the National Research Council Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources. One of his research projects involves genetically modified mosquitoes that have reduced capacity to carry and spread dengue fever. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, among others, for his work.Gould participated in policy development for transgenic crops at the national and international level. He sees a need to develop more inclusive and transparent approaches for building, assessing and regulating transgenic pests. Gould has authored or co-authored more than 160 refereed publications. He has been invited to present papers at numerous conferences, symposia and seminars.

In 2007, he won the George Bugliarello Prize from Sigma Xi for his article on genetic manipulation of pests for control of human disease vectors. In 2004, Gould received the Alexander von Humboldt Award, which is presented annually to the person judged to have made the most significant contribution to American agriculture during the previous five years.

In 2011, Gould received NC State’s Holladay Medal, the university’s highest award for faculty achievement. Gould has served on National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council committees to study the environmental effects of the commercialization of genetically modified plants and develop recommendations on genetically modified pest-protected crops. He has also served on Environmental Protection Agency panels on genetically modified crops. Gould is a member of the Entomological Society of America, the Society for the Study of Evolution and Sigma Xi.

Born in New York, Gould earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Queens College and a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He came to NC State as a research associate in 1978, was named full professor in 1990, and was named Reynolds Professor in 1993. Gould was the 10th faculty member from NC State to win the O. Max Gardner Award since 1996.

Learn more about Dr. Fred Gould on his faculty page. To find out about his research, go to his lab website.

Dr. Todd Kuiken

Dr. Todd KuikenDr. Todd Kuiken joined the Genetic Engineering and Society Center as a Senior Research Scholar in August 2016. He previously was the principal investigator on the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Synthetic Biology Project, where he had numerous projects evaluating and designing new research and governance strategies to proactively address the biosafety, biosecurity and environmental risks associated with synthetic biology and genetic engineering.

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Todd received a BS in Environmental Management & Technology from RIT, an MA in Environmental Resource Policy from George Washington University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Tennessee Tech University. He conducts research at the intersections of technology and society where he explores the scientific and technological frontier, stimulating discovery and bringing new tools to bear on public policy challenges that emerge as science advances, with a particular focus on the environmental and biosecurity impacts.

In September 2016 he received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to facilitate interactions between the emerging ‘makers in biology’ ecosystem and formal regulatory institutions to ensure safe, responsible innovation. He is a member of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology.  He is an executive member of the human practices committee at the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition and a founding member of its biosafety/biosecurity committee. In addition, he is collaborating with DIYbio.org on a project to ensure safety within the rapidly expanding community of amateur biologists and the growing network of community laboratories. The initiative is analyzing and developing programs around the potential biosafety and biosecurity threats associated with such a diffuse community. Learn more about Dr. Todd Kuiken.

Dr. Jason Delborne

Jason DelbourneDr. Jason Delborne is Associate Professor of Science, Policy, and Society in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources in the College of Natural Resources. Jason received an A.B. in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined the NCSU faculty in 2013 as part of the Genetic Engineering and Society Cluster. His research, which draws on the interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, and Society (STS), explores highly politicized scientific controversies with particular attention to interactions among policymakers, scientists, and the public.

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In particular, he investigates how communities, stakeholders, and publics can be engaged in the governance of emerging technologies. One current project, including collaborators from the natural sciences and the EPA, investigates how communities in eastern North Carolina can engage with research and decision making regarding the application of wastewater to forested lands as an alternative to standard municipal wastewater treatment systems.

As a member of the GES cluster faculty and executive committee, much of Jason’s research and teaching relate to genetic engineering. He leads a collaborative NSF grant to study the genetically modified American chestnut tree, potentially the first GMO designed to persist and spread in the environment with the restoration of a species as its goal. He is also serving as lead editor for a special issue of the Journal of Responsible Innovation that will focus on research and governance needs for gene drive technologies, a project that emerged from an NSF workshop grant led by the GES Center Co-Directors. Relatedly, Jason served on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee on gene drive research, which released its report in June 2016 (Gene Drives on the Horizon). In terms of teaching and mentoring, Jason advises two Ph.D. students in the GES IGERT program, serves on several Ph.D. committees for other GES students, co-directs the GES graduate minor program, and teaches a required class in that curriculum, “Emerging Technologies and Society” (GES 508). Learn out more about Dr. Jason Delborne.

Dr. Zachary Brown

brownDr. Zachary Brown serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He will also teach and advise students in the NSF-funded Ph.D. minor program in Genetic Engineering and Society. At NC State, Brown’s research focuses on the interactions between economic and biological systems, including the implications of biotechnology innovation in economic development.

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From 2011 to 2013, Brown served as an economist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, France. At OECD he conducted policy analysis in the Environment Directorate, guiding a project examining the implications of behavioral economics for environmental policy, and overseeing the analysis of a household survey focused on the household consumption patterns and environmental attitudes. He received his Ph.D. in 2011 from Duke University. Advised by Randall Kramer, Zack authored a dissertation examining the economics of malaria control programs in Africa. For this work, he was awarded the 2009 Peccei Prize from the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Vienna, Austria and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association’s 2012 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award. Brown has published peer-reviewed articles in publications such as Environmental Science & Policy, the Journal of Economic Entomology, and Energy Economics. In 2011 the American Journal of Agricultural Economics awarded Brown and coauthor Marc Bellemare its “Outstanding Article” award. Zack has also served as a postdoctoral research associate at the Duke Global Health Institute. Learn more about Dr. Zachary Brown.


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