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2019-2020 Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellows: Human Augmentation

2019-2020 Leshner Leadership Fellows, researchers in the field of human augmentation.
2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Leadership Institute Fellows, researchers in the field of human augmentation.
Photo credit: Mary Catherine Longshore, AAAS

Learn more about the 2019-2020 cohort of Alan I. Leshner Leadership Institute fellows in Science and AAAS News.

Tracey du Laney
Tracey du Laney

Tracey du Laney, Director of Science and Technology Development, North Carolina Biotechnology Center

Tracey du Laney’s research interests encompass tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, cell/biomaterial interfaces, and artificial microvascular grants. She currently manages, among other projects, several translational-stage research grants designed to advance promising scientific discoveries across all areas of the life sciences, including human diagnostics/therapeutics, tissue engineering/regenerative medicine, medical devices, agtech, and industrial biotech. She also coaches elementary school teams in Science Olympiad competitions. Du Laney earned a Ph.D. in biochemical engineering from Duke University.

Kafui Dzirasa 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Kafui Dzirasa


Kafui Dzirasa, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University

Kafui Dzirasa’s research interests focus on using neural technology to understand how changes in the brain produce neurological and mental illness. He was awarded the International Mental Health Research Organization Rising Star Award, and his laboratory was featured on CBS 60 Minutes in 2011. He was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2016. Dzirasa has served on the Board of Directors of the Student National Medical Association, a national organization dedicated to the eradication of health care disparities. Dzirasa completed a Ph.D. in neurobiology at Duke University and an M.D. from the Duke University School of Medicine.


Samira Kiani 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Samira Kiani

Samira Kiani, Assistant Professor of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Arizona State University

Samira Kiani’s career is built around her passion for applying the CRISPR technology to synthetic biology -- in particular, developing safer and more controllable gene therapies. She is the recipient of the Young Faculty Award from DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and several highly competitive grants from the National Institutes of Health. She is collaborating with Rhumbline Media and award-winning filmmaker Cody Sheehy to produce a documentary film and communication campaign called “Code of the Wild,” as a platform for conversation between scientists and the public on the subject of genome modification. She completed her M.D. at the Tehran University of Medical Sciences.


Aaron Levine 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Aaron Levine

Aaron Levine, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Georgia Institute of Technology

Aaron D. Levine’s research focuses on the intersection between public policy and bioethics, and examines the development and oversight of contentious areas of biomedical research and healthcare, such as stem cell research and assisted reproduction. He is also a co-director for engineering workforce development for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Cell Manufacturing Technologies. In 2012, he received an NSF CAREER award to examine the impact of ethical controversy on graduate science education and the development of scientific careers. He is the author of Cloning: A Beginner’s Guide, an accessible introduction to the science of cloning and embryonic stem cells and the ethical and policy controversies this science inspires. Levine completed his Ph.D. in public affairs at Princeton University.

Christopher Lynn 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Christopher D. Lynn

Christopher D. Lynn, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Alabama

Christopher Lynn’s interests lie in biocultural medical anthropology and evolution education. One of his current projects is a biocultural study of tattooing and immune response among Pacific Islanders. He developed and manages a program called “Anthropology is Elemental,” which trains college students to develop curricula that they in turn teach in local elementary schools. Lynn created an Evolutionary Studies minor at the University of Alabama and established the Southeastern Evolutionary Perspectives Society. He co-hosts a bimonthly podcast called The Sausage of Science, and blogs on several platforms. He obtained his Ph.D. in anthropology from the State University of New York at Albany.


Oge Marques 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Oge Marques

Oge Marques, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Florida Atlantic University

Oge Marques’ research is focused on the intelligent processing of visual information, which encompasses the fields of image processing, computer vision, human vision, artificial intelligence and machine learning. He is the author of nine technical books, one patent, and more than 100 scientific articles in his fields of expertise. Marques is a Tau Beta Pi Eminent Engineer. He has given technical lectures and keynotes to audiences worldwide as an ACM Distinguished Speaker, and as a speaker for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at FAU. He earned his Ph.D. in computer engineering from FAU.


Jin Kim Montclare 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Jin Kim Montclare

Jin Kim Montclare, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, New York University

Jin Kim Montclare has led groundbreaking research in engineering proteins to mimic nature and, in some cases, work better than nature – much of it with the aim of targeting human disorders, drug delivery and tissue regeneration. As the director for the Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute, she is integrating entrepreneurship within the engineering curriculum as well as across the entire university for undergraduate and graduate students. Montclare develops K-12 outreach programs with an emphasis on women and minority students. She actively communicates about her research, entrepreneurship, and diversity in STEM with the public through videos, blogposts, podcasts, op-eds and social media (@jkmontclare). She earned her Ph.D. in bioorganic chemistry from Yale University.


Robert Riener 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Robert Riener

Robert Riener, Professor for Sensory-Motor Systems, ETH Zurich

Robert Riener is a member of the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, which he chaired from 2016 – 2018. He is also a professor of medicine at the University of Zurich. Riener has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, 20 books and book chapters and filed 23 patents. Riener’s research focuses on the investigation of the sensory-motor interactions between humans and machines. This includes the development of user-cooperative robotic devices and virtual reality technologies applied to neurorehabilitation. Among many other outreach activities, he is the initiator and organizer of the Cybathlon Championship, which was honored with the European Excellence Award and the Yahoo Sports Technology Award. Riener earned a doctoral degree in engineering from TU München.

Leia Stirling 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Leia Stirling


Leia Stirling, Associate Professor of Industrial and Operations Engineering, University of Michigan

Leia Stirling is Core Faculty in the Center for Ergonomics and Affiliate Faculty in the Robotics Institute at the University of Michigan. Her research quantifies human performance and human-machine fluency in operational settings through advancements in the use of wearable sensors. She applies these measures to assess human performance augmentation, advance exoskeleton control algorithms, mitigate injury risk, and provide relevant feedback to experts across many domains, including clinical, space, and military applications. Stirling is a member for the ASTM F48 Committee on Exoskeletons and Exosuits, developing standards and guidelines for evaluating these systems with a human factors perspective. She is involved with K-12 learning opportunities, including recent efforts with the MIT Museum. She has a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Bill Wuest 2019-2020 AAAS Leshner Fellow
Bill Wuest

Bill Wuest, Distinguished Investigator and Associate Professor of Chemistry, Emory University

Bill Wuest’s research focuses on the development of antibiotics that minimally perturb the human microbiome. Wuest is the recipient of a number of awards including the NIH ESI Maximizing Investigators Research Award (MIRA), NSF CAREER Award, the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award, the New Investigator Award from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation, the Thieme Journal of Chemistry Award, a Scialog Fellow, and the Italia-Eire Foundation Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award from the College of Science and Technology at Temple University. Wuest has a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.