• Dr. Maniatis is recognized as one of the pioneers of modern molecular biology, having led the development of recombinant DNA methods and their application to the study of the mechanisms of gene regulation. He co-authored the definitive laboratory manual on genetic engineering, entitled the Molecular Cloning Manual, along with Joe Sambrook and Ed Fritsch in 1982. This three-volume manual, published by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, set a standard for international dissemination of recombinant DNA methods. Dr. Maniatis’ research has led to major advances in understanding the mechanisms of gene expression at the level of RNA transcription and splicing. His current research is focused on the role of single cell diversity in neural connectivity, and on the molecular mechanisms that underlie the neurodegenerative disease ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

    Dr. Maniatis’ research contributions have been acknowledged by membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and by numerous awards, including the Eli Lilly Research Award in Microbiology and Immunology, the Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research, the Richard Lounsbery Award for Biology and Medicine, and the Lasker Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science. He has received honorary PhD degrees from the Cold Spring Harbor Graduate School, the University of Athens, and the Rockefeller University.

    After receiving his BA and MS degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and his PhD in molecular biology from Vanderbilt University, Dr. Maniatis carried out postdoctoral studies at Harvard University and the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He has held faculty appointments at Harvard University, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the California Institute of Technology during his career.

  • Nemat “Minouche” Shafik is a distinguished economist who for more than three decades has served in senior leadership roles across a range of prominent international and academic institutions.

    Minouche was born in Alexandria, Egypt. When she was 4 years old, her family fled the country during the political and economic upheaval of the mid-1960s. Her father, a scientist, found work in the United States, where he had done his PhD. Minouche and her sister attended numerous schools in Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, and she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and politics in 1983. She was awarded a Master of Science in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 1986, followed by Doctor of Philosophy in economics from St Antony's College, Oxford University, in 1989.

    A Career in Global Development

    Following her Oxford years, Minouche began her career at the World Bank. By age 36, she had become the bank’s youngest-ever vice president. During the early 2000s, she held academic appointments at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Economics Department at Georgetown University. In 2008, she was appointed Permanent Secretary of the U.K.’s Department for International Development, where she led an overhaul in British foreign aid. Next, she served as Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund and then as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, where she sat on all the monetary, financial, and prudential policy committees and was responsible for a balance sheet of over £500 billion (equivalent of approximately $605 billion). In 2017, she returned to academia as president of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

    Throughout her career, Minouche has been at the center of efforts—often during pivotal, high-stakes moments—to address some of the world’s most complex and disruptive challenges. At the World Bank, she worked on the institution’s first-ever report on the environment and later advised governments in Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall. At the height of the “Make Poverty History” campaign, Minouche helped secure the UK’s commitment to giving 0.7% of GDP in aid and focused it on fighting poverty in the poorest countries in the world. She worked on both the European debt crisis and the Arab Spring while she was at the IMF. At the Bank of England, she led work on fighting misconduct in financial markets and was responsible for the contingency planning around the Brexit referendum. At LSE, she has encouraged academic work on how to rethink the social contract for the modern economy.  

    “I have had jobs that are about doing good, such as fighting poverty or leading educational institutions as well as jobs that are about preventing bad things from happening, like at the IMF and Bank of England,” Minouche has said of her career. “Both are vital if we are to make and secure progress for humanity.”

    Editor, Author, and Scholar

    Minouche has authored, edited, and co-authored a number of books and articles. In her writings and speeches, she has been clear eyed in how leading global institutions must transcend technocratic expertise to engage more fully with the people they serve. She has called for a better social contract to underpin our economic system, most notably in her recent book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract (2021, Princeton University Press), in which she challenges institutions and individuals to rethink how we can better support each other to thrive. In addition, she has written articles for a number of publications, including Oxford Economic PapersColumbia Journal of World BusinessThe Middle East JournalJournal of African Finance and Economic DevelopmentWorld Development, and the Journal of Development Economics. Minouche serves or has previously served on numerous boards including as Deputy Chair of the Trustees of the British Museum, board member of the Supervisory Board of Siemens, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, and BRAC. In recognition of her public service, she was made a Dame Commander by Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 and a cross-bench peer in the House of Lords in 2020. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the British Academy, St Antony’s College at Oxford University, and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

    She was awarded Honorary Doctorates from the University of Warwick, the University of Reading, the University of Glasgow, and the American University in Beirut, and was selected “Woman of the Year” at the Global Leadership and Global Diversity awards in 2009. She also was named Forbes “100 Most Powerful Women” in 2015, “100 Women in Finance European Industry Leader” in 2018, and “100 Most Influential Africans” in 2021 by New African magazine.

    She is married to Raffael Jovine, a molecular biologist, with whom she has two college-age children and three adult stepchildren.

  • Melanie Brazil joined Columbia University as Chief of Staff for the Precision Medicine Initiative in May 2015. She works closely with Initiative Director Professor Tom Maniatis, on all aspects of the Initiative.

    Melanie spent 14 years at Nature Publishing Group in a variety of roles as Editor and Publisher: Her first role at Nature was as an Editor for Nature Immunology, in which she was responsible for selecting manuscripts for peer review, making decisions about article suitability based on journal criteria and referee reports. Melanie was also an Editor for the journal Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, responsible for commissioning scholarly reviews on a variety of subjects. As an Editor, she also authored a variety of materials for specialized and lay audiences and developed a large academic and biopharma network. Melanie’s final role at Nature was Publisher for the Biopharma cluster of journals, which includedNature Medicine,Nature Biotechnology, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery andNature Chemical Biology.She was responsible for management, strategy, content and new business development of Nature-branded journals. Melanie conducted the research and due diligence to prepare the research proposal to launch Nature Biomedical Engineering; the first issue was published in January 2017.

    Prior to joining Nature Publishing Group, Melanie completed a post-doctoral position at Weill Cornell Medical School, investigating the role of microglia in processing beta-amyloid in fetal mouse brains. She carried out graduate research at the National Institute for Medical Research in London (now The Francis Crick Institute) in molecular immunology, specifically on antigen presentation in macrophages, and was awarded a Ph.D. by University College, London.

    Prior to starting her Ph.D., Melanie was awarded a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Food Science from Leeds University, and completed a Masters in Applied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (Distinction) from University College, London.

  • Katrina Armstrong, MD, leads Columbia University’s medical campus as the Chief Executive Officer of CUIMC, which includes the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), the School of Nursing, the College of Dental Medicine, and the Mailman School of Public Health. She also is Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences for Columbia University and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. As VP&S dean, Dr. Armstrong leads the nation’s second oldest medical school and the first to award an MD degree. She is an internationally recognized investigator in medical decision making, quality of care, and cancer prevention and outcomes, an award-winning teacher, and a practicing primary care physician.

    She has served on multiple advisory panels for academic and federal organizations and has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Association of American Physicians, and the American Society for Clinical Investigation. Before joining Columbia, Dr. Armstrong was the Jackson Professor of Clinical Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief of Massachusetts General Hospital, and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Before joining Harvard, she was Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine, Associate Director of the Abramson Cancer Center, and Co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Yale University (BA degree in architecture), Johns Hopkins (MD degree), and the University of Pennsylvania (MS degree in clinical epidemiology). She completed her residency training in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins.

  • Christine Kim Garcia, MD, PhD, is the Frode Jensen Professor of Medicine, Director of the Columbia Precision Medicine Initiative, and Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Her laboratory studies the genetic basis of monogenic lung disease, with a specific focus on familial pulmonary fibrosis. Her group has identified several rare variants in genes belonging to the telomere, surfactant, and spindle pathways. She received her MD and PhD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where she completed residency in internal medicine and fellowship in pulmonary and critical care medicine. In 2019 she moved to Columbia and has been a member of the Center for Precision Medicine and Genomics and an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Medicine. Dr. Garcia has received a number of awards and honors, including the Irene and Arthur Fishberg Prize from
    VP&S (2022), American Society for Clinical Investigation (2012), Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Clinical Scientist Development Award (2008), President’s Research Council Distinguished Young Investigator Award from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (2006), Charles E. Culpeper Foundation Medical Scholar Award (2004), Parker B. Francis Fellowship Award in Pulmonary Research (2003) and Alpha Omega Alpha (1991). She currently co-chairs the NIH Clinical Genetic (ClinGen) Pulmonary Domain Executive Committee.

  • Betsy MacLeod is the Assistant Director for the Precision Medicine Initiative. Her professional background is rooted in versatility and includes grant management, fundraising, social media and email marketing, website and graphic design, event planning, and beyond. 

    Betsy is a graduate of the Nonprofit Management MS program in Columbia University's School of Professional Studies. She is also an avid volunteer and is the Vice Chair of the Surfrider Foundation - Central Long Island chapter, and sits on the Environmental Advisory Board for the City of Long Beach. 

  • Amelia Alverson is executive vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, leading Columbia's fundraising efforts and outreach to alumni worldwide. Prior to 2014, she served as senior vice president for development at Columbia University Medical Center. Before joining Columbia in 2009, Alverson was vice president for development at Stanford Hospital & Clinics. She has more than 25 years of development experience in academic medicine, including leadership roles at Stanford Medical Center, the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois.