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Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) Series

NHGRI's Cynthia Tifft and Bill Gahl participate in a Reddit AMA

What is a Reddit "Ask Me Anything"?

The Ask Me Anything (AMA) series was created by the Reddit community as an opportunity for interesting individuals to field questions about anything - and everything! AMAs have succeeded in becoming an exciting platform for people to have direct discussions and gain insight into the lives and work of unique individuals. In effort to bring science education to the public, Reddit Science has created an independent, science-focused AMA Series. The goal is to encourage discussion and facilitate outreach while helping to bridge the gap between scientists and the general public.

What are the benefits of a Reddit Science AMA?

The Reddit Science AMA Series is a unique format that allows scientists to speak about their work in a manner that is not possible within the confines of traditional communication practices. In this format, questions can be explained individually and follow-up questions or comments may be fielded so that the community has a clearer understanding of the research being discussed. NHGRI is uniquely poised to use this platform as a way to discuss our intramural research, Extramural Research Programs, new initiatives in funding, or general issues related to genomics research and genomic medicine. 

Upcoming AMAs

January 18, 2018, 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Eastern

The link to submit questions for this AMA will be live at 8 a.m. Eastern

Jennifer DoudnaCRISPR and the Centers of Excellence in Genomic Sciences Program

NIH is holding a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) with Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D. and her research group, along with  National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Centers for Excellence in Genomic Science (CEGS) program directors. They will answer questions about  her research, her new, NHGRI-funded Center for Genome Editing and Recording and the CEGS program. The CEGS program supports the formation of interdisciplinary research teams to develop innovative genomic research projects. Members of the media and public are invited to ask questions, or follow along with the conversation during the Reddit AMA.

Dr. Doudna's center will focus on refining technologies, such as the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing system, that alter, detect, and record the sequence and functional output of the genome in individual cells and tissues in both healthy and disease states. According to Dr. Doudna, work like this will develop  the precise manipulation of DNA sequences at the scale and level of accuracy that has  not been currently realized and advance the promise of genomic medicine.


Jennifer Doudna, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lisa Brooks, Ph.D., NHGRI program director, Dan Gilchrist, NHGRI program director, Lu Wang, Ph.D., NHGRI program director, Carolyn Hutter, Ph.D., division director, all in the Division of Genome Sciences at NGHRI.

Lawrence Brody, Ph.D., division director for the Division of Genomics and Society at NGHRI. 

January 29, 2018, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Eastern

The link to submit questions for this AMA will be live at 8 a.m. Eastern

Larry BrodyThe Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research Program

Lawrence Brody, Ph.D., division director for the Division of Genomics and Society, Joy Boyer, B.A., Nicole Lockhart, Ph.D., Dave Kaufmann, Ph.D., all program directors for the Division of Genomics and Society and the NHGRI Policy and Program Analysis Branch.

February 23, 2018, 12:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Eastern

The link to submit questions for this AMA will be live at 8 a.m. Eastern

Susan PerskyVirtual Reality in Genomics

Susan Persky, Ph.D., associate investigator for the Social and Behavioral Research Branch and head of the Immersive Virtual Environment Test Unit.

Past AMAs

Genomics and Diversity

Vence Bonham, Maggie Ginoza, Larry Brody, top left,and right, and NHGRI staff answer questions during NHGRI's Reddit AMA on Diversity.

NHGRI talks diversity in genomics research for Reddit

After recently publishing a perspective in Nature Reviews Genetics describing the challenges to achieving diversity in genomics research, NHGRI leadership held a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) on December 1 to discuss the variety of ways in which participant diversity can expand the translation of research findings and the steps they're taking to ensure all populations are included. Here we recap the discussion and point you to the full discussion on Reddit.


Family Health History

Chris Marcum, Ph.D., left, Laura Koehly, Ph.D., center, and staff scientist and Jielu Lin, Ph.D., participate in a Reddit AMA on November 21, 2017.

Reddit "Ask Me Anything": The importance of knowing your family health history

On November 21, 2017, NHGRI's Social and Behavioral Research Branch (SBRB) turned to a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) to answer questions about their work on family health history. AMA hosts were Laura Koehly, Ph.D., SBRB chief, Chris Marcum, Ph.D., a staff scientist, and Jielu Lin, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow. The team answered questions from how to change behaviors after learning disease risk through family health history, to understanding risk when family health history is unknown. 


The Dog Genome Project

Elaine Ostrander, Heidi Parker, Andrew Hogan and Dayna Dreger participate in Reddit AMA on November 2, 2017.

Reddit "Ask Me Anything": The NHGRI Dog Genome Project

On November 2, 2017, experts from The NHGRI Dog Genome Project turned to Reddit - a social news website and discussion forum - to answer questions from the Reddit community as part of an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA). Dog genomes hold a wealth of information for understanding natural variation in dog populations, like body size or fur type, and for learning more about how the genomes of both dogs and humans contribute to health and disease. 


Undiagnosed Diseases Network

Drs. William Gahl and Cynthia Tifft answer questions about the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) for a Reddit AMA on March 3, 2017.

The UDN joins forces with Reddit for an "AMA"

On March 3, 2017, in honor of Rare Disease Day, experts from the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) turned to Reddit to answer questions from the Reddit community as part of an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA). These rare disease experts have joined forces to solve the world's most challenging medical mysteries. Supported by the NIH Common Fund, UDN uses genome sequencing in the clinic, along with a network of experts, to provide answers for patients and families affected by mysterious conditions.   


The ENCODE Project

Mike Pazin, Dan Gilchrist and Elise Feingold participate in Reddit Ask Me Anything! on February 9, 2017.

Reddit "Ask Me Anything": The ENCODE Project

NHGRI's ENCODE Project has spent 13 years building a catalog of all the functional elements in the human genome sequence, and making it available to scientists worldwide for the study of human health and disease. On February 9, 2017, ENCODE program directors in the Division of Genome Sciences at NHGRI, and ENCODE researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, turned to Reddit - a social news website and discussion forum - to answer questions from the Reddit community. 


Last Updated: January 7, 2017