BostonCHI hosts Orit Shaer at IBM Watson Health speaking about Experiencing Personal Genomes


Orit Shaer, PhD, Associate Professor of Computer Science and director of the Media Arts and Sciences Program at Wellesley College

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 6:30 PM

At IBM Watson Health, 75 Binney St, Cambridge, MA 02142


Recent advances in genetic testing and Internet technologies have led to a dramatic increase in the access non-experts have to their own personal genomic data. Such data are complex and sensitive, involve multiple dimensions of uncertainty, and can have substantial implications on individuals’ behavior, choices, and well-being. Future progress in genetic research and technologies is likely to further increase the availability of interactive personal genomic information to non-experts. This trend raises technological and ethical concerns that are not only of paramount importance for health professionals and policymakers, but are also a pressing issue for human–computer interaction (HCI) research. HCI tools, methods, and practices can help make genomic information more accessible and understandable to non-experts.

In this talk, I will explore the roles HCI can play in helping non-experts contribute, understand, engage with, and share their personal genomic information. I will present tools we developed for non-experts to engage with their information and will argue that the complexity, importance, and personal relevance of this type of information makes understanding, informing, and empowering non-experts’ interaction with personal genomics a key challenge that lies ahead for the HCI community.


Orit Shaer is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and director of the Media Arts and Sciences Program at Wellesley College. She received her PhD from Tufts University. Her research focuses on the design and evaluation of novel human-computer interaction techniques for exploring large amounts of data. She is a recipient of various awards including the prestigious National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Luce Foundation Professorship, Agilent Technologies Research Award, and Google App Engine Education Award.

Evening schedule

6:30 – 7:00  Networking over pizza and beverages
7:00 – 8:30  Meeting
8:30 – 9:00  CHI Dessert and more networking


Thank you to our generous sponsors. Interested in sponsoring BostonCHI? Let us know!

IBM Research is hosting us and providing pizza.

IBM Research Cambridge logo

HireMinds is sponsoring CHI Dessert

Getting there

IBM Watson Health is located at 75 Binney Street Cambridge, MA 02142. The best way to get there is to take the Red Line to Kendall Square. If you’re driving, here’s a list of parking locations.