People is an interdisciplinary project involving faculty, staff, and students from Duke University and from other institutions. 

Image citation: Ilyse Whitney, CC BY 2.0 Leadership

Nita A. Farahany, PhD, JD

Nita Farahany is Director of the Duke University Initiative for Science and Society and a Professor of Law and Philosophy. She is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of biosciences and emerging technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience and behavioral genetics.

Buz Waitzkin, JD, LLM

Michael “Buz” Waitzkin is Deputy Director of the Duke University Initiative for Science & Society, and a Senior Lecturing Fellow. He has extensive experience as a practicing lawyer within the private biomedical and government sectors.

Matt Perault, JD

Matt Perault is an Associate Professor of the Practice and Director of the Center for Science & Technology Policy within the Initiative for Science & Society. Matt previously served as a director of public policy at Facebook. He led the company’s global public policy planning efforts on issues such as competition, law enforcement, and human rights and oversaw public policy for WhatsApp, Oculus, and Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research. Prior to joining Facebook, Matt was Counsel at the Congressional Oversight Panel. He previously worked as a consultant at the World Bank and served as a law clerk for the US District Court for the District of Columbia. Matt holds a law degree from Harvard Law School, a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor’s degree in political science from Brown University.

Andrew Pericak, MEM

Andrew Pericak serves as the Editor-in-Chief for, responsible for general management of the website and overseeing the work of the students and staff involved with the project. He received the Master of Environmental Management degree from Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment in 2016, at which he specialized in Environmental Economics and Policy. Before that, he received the Bachelor of Arts from the University of Richmond. Andrew also has extensive experience with geographic information systems (GIS) and has produced open spatial data currently used in academic research and public advocacy. Topic Leads & Lead Policy Analysts

These staff direct the content and direction for their respective science and technology topics on the website.

Maria Carnovale, PhD (Emerging Tech, Environment, Data Security)

Maria Carnovale writes and curates content related to Emerging Tech, Environment, and Data Security on Prior to joining Science and Society, Maria was a researcher and instructor at the Energy, Resources, and Environment Program of Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies. An economist by training, Maria received her PhD in Public Policy from Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. She also holds a MS in Economics of Innovation and Technology and BA in Economics from Università Bocconi in Milan, Italy.

Brian Langloss, PhD (Health, Data Security)

Brian Langloss is a Lead Policy Analyst for He oversees the development and publication of SciPol content related to the Health and Data Security topics. In addition to SciPol, Brian also serves on the Citizens Advisory Committee, a City Council Appointed body that provides oversight for Durham’s Federally funded low-income housing programs. A chemist by training, Brian received his PhD in Chemistry from Duke in 2018, where his research was focused on the practical application of nanomaterials to biological imaging and radiation detection. Prior to graduate school, Brian completed his BS in Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside, and worked as an R&D chemist in industry.

Holly Leddy, PhD (Emerging Tech – Nanotechnology)

Holly Leddy oversees the development and publication of content related to nanotechnology within the Emering Tech topic. Holly also works as a research and development engineer at Duke’s Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF), a nanotechnology characterization and fabrication multi-user facility. Holly is a micro-imaging specialist and trains new users on a variety of micro- and nano-imaging techniques, including atomic force and scanning electron microscopy, as well as advising users on biomedical related projects. Holly also works with the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network to create and promote nanotechnology related educational outreach. She has created nanotechnology based science outreach programming at SMIF that engages over 2000 K-12 students per year. Prior to joining SMIF, she worked as a researcher in cartilage mechanobiology and arthritis at Duke University Medical Center. Holly received her BA in Biology from Bowdoin College and her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University.

Sarah Rispin Sedlak, JD (Energy)

Sarah Rispin Sedlak oversees the development and publication of content related to Energy, and is jointly supported by Duke Science & Society and the Duke Energy Initiative. She has extensive experience in administrative and environmental law, having litigated matters involving the energy sector before federal and state courts and state utility commissions, and participated in the regulatory comment process at the federal and state level. She received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School, where she was on the board of the University of Chicago Law Review, and wrote and did research on brownfields redevelopment, federalism and environmental law, and administrative law. Contributors by Topic Area

    Emerging Tech

    Supported by Duke University's Humans and Autonomy Laboratory (HAL), Center for the Environmental Implications of Nanotechnology (CEINT), and the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF)

    Maria Carnovale, PhD
    Lead Policy Analyst, Emerging Tech

    Holly Leddy, PhD
    Lead Editor, Emerging Tech – Nanotechnology

    Siyuan Feng, MS Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Emergint Tech – Nanotechnology

    Max Povejsil, MA Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Emerging Tech – Robotics / AI

    Spring 2020 Contributors

    Raymond Allen, PhD Candidate

    Jayun Bae, MA Candidate

    Evan Donahue, PhD Candidate

    Ryan B. Dudek, PhD Candidate

    Katelyn Flint, PhD Candidate

    Kat Hefter, BSE Candidate

    Nathan Iyer, MA Candidate

    Luis Sordo Vieira, PhD

    Ryan Tam, PhD Candidate

    Gwenaëlle Thomas, PhD Candidate


    Supported by the Duke University Energy Initiative

    Sarah Rispin Sedlak, JD
    Lead Editor, Energy

    Nathan Iyer, MA Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Energy

    Spring 2020 Contributors
    Coming soon!


    Brian Langloss, PhD
    Lead Policy Analyst, Emerging Tech

    Jayun Bae, MA Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Health – Neuroscience

    Megan Boyd, MA Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Health – Genomics

    Defne Z. Yorgancioglu, BS Candidate
    Assistant Editor, Health – Neuroscience

    Spring 2020 Contributors

    Raymond Allen, PhD Candidate

    Jayun Bae, MA Candidate

    Kat Hefter, BSE Candidate

    Emily Perry, MEM Candidate

    Meredith Schmehl, PhD Candidate

    Claire Simmons, MA Candidate

    Luis Sordo Vieira, PhD

    Karla Sosa, PhD Candidate

    Ryan Tam, PhD Candidate

    Gwenaëlle Thomas, PhD Candidate

    Rishita Yeduri, MA Candidate Production Assistants

    Production Assistants provide various administrative and technical assistance across the website, such as with content creation, website promotion, and social media.

    Our current Production Assistants include:

    • Roberto Medrano (Trinity 2021)
    • Lexx Pino (Trinity 2021)