Samira Kiani

Samira Kiani is a genetic engineer, science communicator and multimedia producer. An artist at heart, her work is dedicated to fostering science that is soulful, self-aware, human-centered and informed by the collective wisdom of society. Kiani is an associate professor of pathology and bioengineering at University of Pittsburgh, where her research is focused on improving the safety of CRISPR gene-editing technology for the treatment of disease. She is also the co-founder and acting CEO of GenexGen Inc., a startup dedicated to build innovative approaches to engineer immune tolerance. She started working in the area of genetic engineering in 2010 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and started her own research lab at Arizona State University in 2016. She is the recipient of a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and has served as a Leshner Leadership Institute Public Engagement Fellow at the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology. Her work increasingly extends beyond the laboratory, with a podcast, virtual reality experiences and theatrical productions in the works. She produced “Make People Better,” a feature-length documentary about the ethical perils of human genetic engineering, which premiered at the Hot Docs international film festival in April 2022. Her podcast, “Make People Better Podcast,” available on all podcast platforms, examines various aspects of genomic revolution. Over the past five years, Kiani has transformed into a cyborg anthropologist with practical knowledge on societal implications of genetic revolution. Now she is embarking on a journey to examine how we can transform the STEM environments to promote reflective and responsible innovation. 

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