July 9th, 2024

Meet the 2024 Genes in Space Judges!

In just a few weeks, our 2024 Genes in Space Finalists will attend the ISS Research and Development Conference in Boston, MA, and find out which of their experiments is bound for space next year. That difficult decision lies with our impressive panel of space and science professionals. Get to know our 2024 Genes in Space Judges below:

Ana Karla photo.JPG Dr. Cepeda Diaz

Dr. Ana Karla Cepeda Diaz is a Postdoctoral Researcher at MIT's Whitehead Institute, where she studies the host cell determinants of Toxoplasma infection. Dr. Cepeda Diaz is the 2024 recipient of the John Hatch Memorial Prize in Mentorship, and was a Genes in Space mentor for three years, during her PhD at Harvard Medical School. In that time, she had the pleasure of mentoring Pristine Onuoha, the winner of Genes in Space 2022.

IMG_5810.jpg Dr. Martin

Dr. Katy Martin is the Digital Initiatives Lead at miniPCR bio. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University and has worked in and out of the classroom as a science educator. Dr. Martin previously served as the Program Lead for Genes in Space from 2019-2022.

Adrian Reich Judges Panel 2024.JPG Dr. Reich

Dr. Adrian Reich is a Bioinformatician at New England Biolabs developing new ways of enabling scientists to analyze their own DNA or RNA sequencing data. Dr. Reich has always been fascinated by the intersection of biology and all things beyond the Kármán line and mentored multiple teams through the synthetic biology iGEM competition.

Dr. Donna Roberts Dr. Donna Roberts

Dr. Donna Roberts serves as Deputy Chief Scientist of the International Space Station National Laboratory.  Previously, she was a Professor in the Department of Radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).  In addition to her prior clinical work as a neuroradiologist, she led multiple NASA-funded studies investigating the impact of spaceflight on the human brain.

Stark, JC_headshot.jpg Dr. Jessica Stark

Dr. Jessica Stark is an Assistant Professor at MIT. Her research program seeks to understand and engineer the roles of cell surface sugars called glycans in the immune system. Dr. Stark is a co-developer of BioBits® kits, which serves as a vital component of the Genes in Space Toolkit, and increases access to high-quality biology education by facilitating hands-on learning.