Lea Witkowsky

Executive Director

Dr. Lea Witkowsky is a molecular biologist by training who has applied her knowledge to a subsequent career in scientific governance, ethics, and multi-perspective engagement. As Executive Director of the Kavli Center for Ethics, Science, and the Public at UC Berkeley, she builds a transdisciplinary community of research and learning that breaks down barriers between disciplines and across academia and society, to work together to envision the futures we want our scientific advances to create. Prior to co-creating the Kavli Center, Dr. Witkowsky was the Policy and Engagement Manager at the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), a non-profit research partnership between UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, dedicated to improving and applying genome engineering to solve major world problems. She is co-founder and co-director of the Berkeley Ethics and Regulation Group for Innovative Technologies, an ideas exchange and a meeting ground for conversations and collaborations across disciplines. Throughout her career, Dr. Witkowsky has aimed to inspire and facilitate scientifically, ethically, and socially informed discussions about genome editing and other scientific breakthroughs through communications with regulators, policymakers, and experts across disciplines, and by engaging stakeholders and convening international events that feature diverse perspectives. Her work includes publications on the science, ethics, and governance of genome editing, leading “CRISPR Consensus?”, an international workshop on public debate and the governance of heritable genome editing, the creation of the first Artist Residency program at the Innovative Genomics Institute, participation in congressional briefings on genome editing, and the development of recommendations on behalf of the Innovative Genomics Institute and the Kavli Center to regulatory, funding, and governance agencies on responsible scientific development and regulation. Lea received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 2016, from Dr. Robert Tjian’s lab where she studied mechanisms of gene regulation and CRISPR-based gene editing in human cells.


621B Sutardja Dai Hall