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History of Genomics Program


The History of Genomics Program is a unique history and science communications effort at the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health.  

This program uses the history of genomics and the Human Genome Project to promote equity, combat the dehumanization of marginalized communities and build trust in medical advances by confronting past and present-day wrongs, including stigma, eugenics, scientific racism, ableism and heteronormativity. The program develops scholarship, sponsors lectures and symposia, records oral histories and provides access to an archive of documents about NHGRI and the field of genomics. The program supports a vision of genomics as a science for all.

History of Genomics Archive

NHGRI has launched a publicly available and keyword-searchable archive providing full digital access to some of the most significant historical artifacts from the Human Genome Project and other major genomics efforts. To receive more information about gaining access to the database, please send an email to NHGRIHistory@nih.gov.

Learn More
History of Genomics Archive

A Conversation with the 4 NHGRI Scientific Directors

NHGRI has had four amazing scientific directors that led our Intramural Research Program (IRP): Jefferey Trent, Eric Green, Dan Kastner and Charles Rotimi (our current director). To celebrate our IRP’s 30th anniversary, the scientific directors came together to discuss genomics research, challenges and successes and some fun memories in a two-part video recorded in July 2023.

Watch the Videos
Jeffrey Trent, Eric Green, Dan Kastner and Charles Rotimi


Virtual Exhibits

"The Human Genome Project is simply a bad idea"
The 1990 campaign to oppose the Human Genome Project.

Oral History Collections

Oral histories capture the perspectives and experiences of those involved in major genomics programs and other NHGRI endeavors. They involve interviews with both NHGRI staff and leaders from the wider genomics research community.


NHGRI recognizes pioneers who have left a deep impact on the institute and the genomics community.


Scholarly descriptions and analyses of the major genomics programs and other NHGRI endeavors strive to draw upon the knowledge of institute staff and external genomics experts, while also capturing the expertise of professional historians. This includes a monograph-length study on the history of NHGRI human genomic variation programs from the Haplotype Map Project to the recently completed 1000 Genomes Project, and a special issue of the Journal of the History of Biology on the historical legacy of the Human Genome Project and genomics.

Program Staff

Christopher R. Donohue
Christopher R. Donohue, Ph.D.
  • Historian
  • Office of Communications
Britny J. Kish
Britny J. Kish
  • Deputy Director
  • Office of Communications
Zach M. Utz
Zachary M. Utz, M.A.
  • Archivist
  • Office of Communications
Kris Wetterstrand
Kris A. Wetterstrand, M.S.
  • Program Operations Lead
  • Division of Extramural Operations
Nicola Sugden
Nicola Sugden, Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Engagement Methods Unit
Liz Dietz
Elizabeth Dietz, Ph.D.
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Bioethics Core/Institutional Review Board
Theo Tiffney
Theo Tiffney, Ph.D.
  • Communications Specialist
  • Office of Communications
Alvaro W. Encinas
Alvaro W. Encinas
  • Audiovisual Production Specialist
  • Office of Communications

Last updated: May 14, 2024