Spencer Wells, Ph.D.

Founder and Executive Director

Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author and entrepreneur. For over a decade he was an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and Director of the Genographic Project, which collected and analyzed DNA samples from hundreds of thousands of people around the world in order to decipher how our ancestors populated the planet, in the process launching the consumer genomics industry. Wells graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Texas at Austin, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and conducted postdoctoral work at Stanford and Oxford. He has appeared in numerous documentary films and is the author of three books, The Journey of Man, Deep Ancestry, Pandora's Seed. His work has taken him to more than 100 countries, where he has collaborated with everyone from heads of government and Fortune 500 corporations, to tribal chieftains in places as remote as Chad, Tajikistan and Papua New Guinea. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas, Visiting Professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, and co-owner of the iconic Austin blues club Antone’s.

Gareth Highnam, Ph.D.

Director of Products

Gareth Highnam is a genomics scientist and software developer, leading the product changes and bioinformatics at Insitome Institute. He completed his PhD in computational biology at Virginia Tech and has since worked in industry to develop genetic applications for medicine and ancestry. Gareth's academic work is focused on improving the software involved in genome sequencing, and it has been published across a wide range of research fields. His collaborators include the National Institute of Standards and Technologies, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Whitehead Institute of Harvard and MIT.

Razib Khan

Director of Scientific Content

Razib Khan is a geneticist and writer. He has published on mammalian evolution Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and personal genomics in Genome Biology. Razib has written for a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, India Today, and Slate. Razib runs the widely read weblog, Gene Expression, and a podcast devoted to genetics, history, and evolution, The Insight. He helped develop ancestry tests for Family Tree DNA and National Geographic. Razib is also a consultant for PBS’ Finding Your Roots. His son is the first child in history known to be born who was whole-genome sequenced in utero, as covered by NPR and MIT Technology Review. He has degrees in biology and biochemistry from the University of Oregon and studied genetics at the graduate level at the University of California, Davis.