Anna works on the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomic technologies. She comes to this work from a background as a scientist and a practitioner in the genetics industry. The project she leads as part of the Justice, Health and Democracy initiative at the E L Safra Center is on the use of population and ancestry categories across disciplines. The project is motivated by the increasing relevance of the categories of the geneticist to medicine, public health, and beyond. It is also motivated by the sensitivity of polygenic risk scores — which combine the many small effects of genetic variants to a trait of interest — to details of the groups used to train and validate them. The project has yielded four papers to date.
In addition to her role at the Safra Center, Anna is embedded in the Genomes2People group, a genomic implementation science group led by Dr Robert Green. Through this she is part of the team on two large-scale efforts to return polygenic scores to individuals, giving her direct experience of the types of issues faced by practitioners around the use of ancestry and population.
Anna has published widely across ELSI topics; a list of publications is available on her website: www.acflewis.com. Anna is a member of multiple national and international working groups at the intersection of genetics and ethics, including ClinGen’s Ancestry and Diversity Working Group, the International Common Disease Alliance’s task force on the responsible use of polygenic scores, the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health Regulatory and Ethics workstream, the newborn ethics working group of Genomics England, and Harvard’s Neuroethics Hub.