Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator

Deputy Director, Science and Society, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Dr. Alondra Nelson currently serves as the inaugural Deputy Director for Science and Society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In this role, she brings social science expertise, including attention to issues of social inequality, explicitly into the work of Federal science and technology strategy and policy.

Dr. Nelson is also Harold F. Linder Chair and Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, an independent research center in Princeton, NJ. She was president of the Social Science Research Council, an international research nonprofit from 2017-2021. She was previously professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she also served as the inaugural Dean of Social Science. Dr. Nelson began her academic career on the faculty of Yale University and there was recognized with the Poorvu Prize for interdisciplinary teaching excellence.

Dr. Nelson’s major research contributions are situated at the intersection of political and social citizenship, on the one hand, and emerging scientific, medical, and technological phenomena, on the other. Her work explores science, medicine, and technology as sites of both risk and empowerment, especially for underserved and vulnerable communities. Dr. Nelson connects these dimensions in a range of widely acclaimed and award-winning publications, including Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh N. Tu); Genetics and the Unsettled Past (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee); Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination; and The Social Life of DNA.

Dr. Nelson is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Related summit session