Dr. Alondra Nelson leads the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and serves as deputy assistant to the president and deputy director for science and society. Dr. Nelson joined Data & Society’s board in 2016, and served until her appointment to the Biden Administration in 2021.
Nelson is Harold F. Linder Chair and professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. Previously, she served as president of the Social Science Research Council and was a professor of sociology at Columbia University, where she also served as the inaugural dean of social science.
Nelson is the author of Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. Her other books include Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee) and Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh N. Tu). She is working on a book about science and technology policy in the Obama administration; “Society After Pandemic,” an essay collection; and new research exploring the sociology of bioethics. Nelson served as an advisor to the Obama Presidency Oral History Project.
She has also served on the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Teagle Foundation, United States International University: Africa, the Center for Research Libraries, the Rockefeller Archive Center, and the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a Harlem-based youth development organization. Nelson is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, and an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Political and Social Science.