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Jen Wagner

Associate Director, Bioethics Research
Assistant Professor
Center for Translational Bioethics and Health Care Policy

Office of the Chief Scientific Officer
100 North Academy Avenue
MC 30-42
Danville, PA 17822 
Office phone: 570-214-3774


Jennifer K Wagner, JD, PhD

Research Interests

Dr. Wagner’s research is multidisciplinary and focused at the intersections of anthropology, genetics, law, and bioethics. During her post-doctoral research appointments at the Duke University Institute for Genome Sciences & Policy and the University of Pennsylvania Center for the Integration of Genetic Healthcare Technologies, she focused on ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic technologies with particular interest in the ways in which personal genetics could be used to mitigate racial disparities in health and justice. Her recent research covers three main areas: DNA ancestry testing, sports applications of personal genetics, and genetic rights as human rights. Research topics she explores include the ways in which ancestry and appearance affect identity, experiences of discrimination, and implicit prejudices; access, sharing, and privacy of personal genetic information; the medicalization of the human genome and its policy implications; perspectives on DNA identification technologies and their utility in law enforcement, immigration, and other non-medical contexts; limitations of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act; separation of powers issues related to government oversight of genetic/omics and mobile health technologies; and engagement of individuals and communities for research (including consent, research design, and implementation).

Recent Publications

  • E Huang and JK Wagner. “The Indefinite ‘Stay’ on Regulatory Reforms for Research with Prisoners.” American Journal of Bioethics. 2017; 7(1): 55-57. DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2017.1328534 
  • J Ifekwunigwe, JK Wagner, J-H Yu, M Bamshad, CD Royal. “A Qualitative Analysis of How Anthropologists Interpret the Race Construct.” American Anthropologist. 2017; 119(2): 422–434. DOI 10.1111/aman.12890 
  • S Katsanis, M Felini, J Kim, M Minear, S Chandrasekharan, and JK Wagner. "Perspectives of women in prostitution diversion program on DNA collection for a high-risk DNA database." International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences. 2017; 12(1):111-128. Full Text
  • Huang E, Cauley J, and Wagner JK. "Barred from better medicine? Reexamining the regulatory barriers to the inclusion of prisoners in research." Journal of Law and Biosciences. First published online Jan. 11, 2017. DOI: 10.1093/jlb/lsw064. Full Text
  • Wagner JK, Yu J-H, Ifekwunigwe J, Harrell T, Bamshad M, and Royal C. "Anthropologists' Views on Race, Ancestry, and Genetics." American Journal of Physical Anthropology. Nov. 22, 2016. DOI: 10.1002/ajpa23120. Full Text
  • JK Wagner, Peltz-Rauchman C, Rahm AK, Johnson CC. “Precision Engagement: PMI’s success will depend upon more than genomes and big data” Genetics in Medicine. advance online publication October 27, 2016. doi: 10.1038/gim2016.165. Full Text


JD, University of North Carolina, 2007
PhD, Pennsylvania State University, 2010


November 29, 2018: Dr. Wagner will speak at the “How Can Law Support Genomics and Precision Medicine to Advance the Health and Underserved Populations?” symposium in Nashville, TN. Her talk is entitled “Is Law a Help or a Threat to the Inclusion of Underserved and Immigrant Populations in Genomic Research?” 

October 18, 2018: Dr. Wagner will be at the American Society of Human Genetics conference in San Diego, CA and will speak at the Policy Luncheon entitled “Genetic Information Privacy Protections and Policy.” 

September 26, 2018: Dr. Wagner will present research at The International Symposium on Human Identification in Phoenix, AZ on “Family Ties and DNA at the Border: Untangling Misconceptions.”

July 6, 2018: Dr. Wagner was interviewed on PRI’s The World. The title of the segment was “Reuniting children and families separated at the border.”

June 5, 2018: Dr. Jennifer Wagner has recently been appointed to serve on the Science Policy Committee for the American Association of Physical Anthropologists for a four-year term, effectively immediately.

May 14, 2018: Dr. Wagner was appointed by PBA President Charles Eppolito, III to serve as a member of the PBA Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Committee for a term of May 2018-May 2019.

May 3, 2018: Dr. Wagner appeared as a guest on NPR’s On Point to discuss genetic privacy.

March 9, 2018: Dr. Wagner was appointed by American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA) President Leslie Aiello to serve on the AAPA Ethics Committee for a term of 2018-2020.

January 6, 2018: Dr. Wagner was an invited ELSI Keynote speaker for Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing 2018, an international multidisciplinary conference, held on the Big Island of Hawaii. Her talk was entitled “Data Disparities: Discrimination & Equity in Big Data.”
January 2018: Dr. Wagner became the Chair of the Social Issues Committee for the American Society of Human Genetics.
December 19, 2017: Dr. Wagner welcomed a new member to her research team: Dr. Kasia Tolwinski earned her doctorate in Science & Technology Studies from Cornell University.