Former Research Assistants


Lane Baldwin was a Research Aide from 2012-2013. She graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2011 with a BA in political science and English. Her CpG research was about intellectual property on genomic materials, specifically for AMP v. Myriad Genetics. She started medical school at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Class of 2017.

Jae Cheon was a Research Aide from 2013-2015. She graduated from Duke University in 2013 with a BA in philosophy, minors in biology and chemistry. Her CpG research was on ethical and policy concerns regarding variants of uncertain significance in genetic testing. After her time at CpG, she hopes to be involved in innovation at the intersection of healthcare, design, and technology.

Alessandra Colaianni was a Research Associate from 2007-2008. She graduated from Duke University with a BA, majoring in biology and philosophy, minoring in chemistry. Her research at CpG was about patenting and licensing of seminal genomic technologies. In particular, she studied the Axel co-transformation patents and the Cohen-Boyer recombinant DNA patents, as well as patenting and licensing of genetic tests for Tay-Sachs disease gene and Canavan disease gene. After her time at GELP, she worked for the Advisory Board Company in Washington, DC for two years in healthcare research and consulting. In 2010, she started medical school at Johns Hopkins and graduated in 2015. She started her residency in otolaryngology at the Harvard/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston.

Christopher Heaney, JD was a Research Aide from 2008-2010. He graduated from The College of William and Mary in 2007 with a BA in Religious Studies. At CpG, he researched how gene patents affect patients’ access to genetic testing and how researchers can share data and develop better relationships with research participants. In 2010, he started at the University of North Carolina School of Law and participated in the Civil Legal Assistance Clinic and the First Amendment Law Review. After graduating with his JD in 2013, he practiced civil rights law at the Southern Coalition for Social Justice. In 2014, he began practicing post-conviction criminal defense law at North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. He evaluates defendants’ requests for assistance and litigates statutory and constitutional errors in convictions.

Kathryn Maxson was a Research Aide from 2010-2013. She graduated from Duke University in 2010 with a BS in biology, minors in chemistry and history. With Robert Cook-Deegan and Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide), she worked on the history of the Bermuda Principles, the policies that led to the daily, free, and online sharing of the DNA sequences generated by the Human Genome Project. She also worked briefly on the history of next-generation DNA sequencing technologies. In the fall of 2013, she entered a PhD program in the History of Science at Princeton University. She plans to finish her PhD in 2018 or 2019 and then continue in academia. At Princeton, she studies the history of molecular biology and is in the early phases of a dissertation focused on the histories of neurophysiology and neuroscience in the U.S. and Britain.

Alexandra Young was a Research Assistant from 2013-present (as of 2015). She wrote her undergraduate senior honors thesis under the direction of Robert Cook-Deegan on the pre-history of the Association for Molecular Pathology vs. Myriad Genetics gene patenting case that went before the Supreme Court in 2013. Myriad Genetics held patents on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes correlating with an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer and this case brought the issue of gene patenting to the forefront. In 2014, she graduated from Duke University with a BS in molecular biology, a BA in Spanish, and a Certificate in Genome Sciences & Policy. Since graduation, she has worked in biotechnology consulting and plans to attend medical school in the future.


Page last updated on 11 June 2015 for the Duke University Center for Public Genomics, funded by the U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute (P50 HG 003391)

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