Dr. Megan J. Palmer is the Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University. She leads research, teaching and engagement programs to explore how biological science and engineering are shaping our societies, and to guide innovation to serve public interests. Based in the Department of Bioengineering, where she is also an Adjunct Professor, she works closely with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world. In addition to fostering broader efforts, Dr. Palmer leads biosecurity programs in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford.
Megan has led numerous programs on the role of synthetic biology in society. She spent a decade leading social responsibility programs for the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, and founded the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP). She is on the council of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and co-chairs the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology. She also advises a number of organizations on their approaches to the responsible development of biotechnology, including serving on the Board of Revive and Restore.
Previously, Megan was a Senior Research Scholar at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of FSI, where she is now an affiliate. She spent 5 years directing policy efforts for the multi-university Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc), was a project scientist at UC Berkeley, and a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford.
Dr. Palmer received her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from M.I.T. and a B.Sc.E. in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University.