Researcher @ National Institutes for Health
Working (0-5 years experience)
1121Washington, DC, USAJoined Sep 2021



I do biosecurity research (DURC and ePPP research oversight and ethics) and like to spend my free time organising events and doing random projects in EA.

Happy to help, talk, and be a friendly face :)


Topic Contributions

I strongly +1 the comment and really resonate with the below statement in particular. 

A lot may just want someone in a position of authority to say "hey, you may not realize, but you're making people uncomfortable"

Often I've felt strange about reporting minor instances where I felt a little uncomfortable and have also been unsure along the lines 'is serious enough? is a strange vibe reportable? etc'. Especially because in many of those situations I don't think the person/people were intentionally making me uncomfortable and just unaware. But at the same time, many people (me included) find it hard to straight up say 'hey you made me uncomfortable doing X ' and so a CH team mediator or anonymous comment form makes sense to me.

Hi, thanks for the comments! Some broad thoughts in response:


My impression is that one of the key defenses that the Fauci/NIH/EcoHealth/etc. offered for their research in Wuhan was that it was technically not Gain of Function, even if some parts of it might sound like Gain of Function to the layperson, which seems in tension with this claim. Do you think they were wrong about this?

It's hard for me to go into detail on a public platform on this (just to be cautious to my job) but I can broadly say that there's a difference between research that is a) gaining a function, b) gain-of-function as defined by informal norms in the biomedical community, and c) what is formally DURC / GoF research as defined by U.S. government policy. The EcoHealth grants fall confusingly as or as not GoF depending on how GoF is defined. 


Speaking as an outsider, the amount of regulation on what you refer to as ePPP (adding functionality to make diseases more dangerous) seems shockingly low. The article you link to tries to make it sound like there are a lot of safeguards, but it seems to me like virtually all the steps only apply if you are seeking federal funding. This is not a standard we accept in other areas! If you are making a car, or building a nuclear power plant, or running a bank or airline, you have to accept extremely intrusive regulation regardless of your funding, and for many things - like nuclear weapons or money laundering - US regulation has world-wide reach. 

I fully agree! I think there are many concrete needs in this space including legal regulation over DURC /ePPP/GoF research in the U.S. particularly but also  every country that practices such research. To achieve such regulation requires a ton of work, consensus building, and thought into what constructive regulation that captures risk while not alienating / shutting down an entire research field  is tough and part of the nuances that I think we as a community need to work towards

Thanks!! Strongly agree on your points of the intrinsic value of understanding and being nuanced in this space, I just didn't have the words to frame it as well as you put it :)

Thanks! I do broadly agree with your points. I linked  reference 6 as an example of the benefits and nuances of dual-use research, but don't / shouldn't comment on COVID-19 origins and their views expressed on it.

Thanks! I don't have any other one's I broadly recommend but happy to share topic specific resources if there's something in particular you're interested in. 

Hi Megan  - I just wanted to say thank you for writing this. For being you. For showing up. This so well encapsulates how I and so many others are feeling. I just wanted to say thank you <3

(and i'm tired too ). 

I can message you more if you want -  but generally I think doing 1-1's with new-er EA's (or people who wouldn't necessarily even call themselves an EA - like people in the intro. fellowship generally) requires extra transparency and communication around expectation setting and goals. 

This generally just for us looked like making it clear in the email / form what 1-1's are, what the purpose of them is, what it isn't (ex. it isn't making a career connection to simply get them to leave their job for an EA aligned one), etc. And then making it clear to the people doing the 1-1 some norms around setting expectations, approaching EA as an open question, and not assuming X person is interested doing the most effective things or taking Y action.

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