Sara Katsanis
Sara Katsanis

Sara Huston Katsanis


Sara H. Katsanis is an Instructor in Science & Society at Duke University who joined Duke in 2009. Her research focuses on policy options for genetic testing applications in medicine and law enforcement and how genetic technologies affect individuals. She has explored direct-to-consumer genetic testing, pharmacogenetics drug labeling, familial searching of CODIS, and surreptitious collection of DNA. She is also delving into policy options for the applications of kinship analyses to identify victims of human trafficking and adoption fraud through the Kenan Creative Collaboratory, Science, Ethics, Identity and Human Rights (SEIHR).

Katsanis received a MS in Medical Genetics from Brunel University in 1997 having completed her research thesis at Imperial College School of Medicine at St. Mary’s in London, UK. From 1998-2002, she worked in Houston, TX, first as a DNA Analyst in the forensic laboratory at the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office, then as an Associate Scientist managing the genotyping facility at Lexicon Genetics, Inc. In 2002, she joined Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD as Laboratory Manager for the DNA Diagnostic Laboratory, responsible for oversight and supervision of clinical diagnostic testing. In 2006, Katsanis began working with the Genetics & Public Policy Center within the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC. She contributed to the Center’s efforts to address legal, ethics, and policy issues related to human reproductive genetic technologies, genetic testing quality and oversight, and public engagement in genetic testing and research.

Recent Publications

Opinion editorial: Katsanis SH, Wagner j. “Why aren’t we taking DNA instead of children?”. The Herald Sun, June 25, 2018

Consent process for family reference DNA samples. Katsanis SH, Snyder L, Arnholt K, Mundorff AZ (2018) Forensic Science International: Genetics 32:71–79.

Participant-partners in genetic research: an exome study with families of children with unexplained conditions. Katsanis SH, Minear MA, Sadeghpour A, Cope H, Perilla Y, Cook-Deegan R, Task Force for Neonatal Genomics, Katsanis N, Davis EE, Angrist M. (2018) Journal of Participatory Medicine, 10(1):e2.

Perspectives on DNA collection for a high-risk DNA database. Katsanis SH, Felini M, Kim J, Minear MA, Chandrasekharan S, Wagner JK (2017) International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences, 12(1):111-128.

The Dallas High Risk Potential Victim’s DNA Database as a novel intelligence tool for investigations of transient populations. Felini L, Costa J, Felini M, Eisenberg A, Katsanis S (2016) FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, September 2016.

Perspectives on genetic and genomic technologies in an academic medical center: The Duke experience. Katsanis SH, Minear M, Vorderstrasse A, Yang N, Reeves J, Rakhra-Burris, Cook-Deegan R, Ginsburg, GS, Simmons LA. (2015) Journal of Personalized Medicine, 5(2):67-82

Preliminary Perspectives on DNA Collection in Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts. Katsanis SH, Kim J, Minear MA, Chandrasekharan S, Wagner JK, Recent Adv DNA Gene Seq. 2015 Feb 16;. Abstract

DNA in immigration and human trafficking. Katsanis SH and Kim J. Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective, CRC Taylor and Francis, Chapter 22 [Jan 31, 2014, commissioned].

Managing incidental genomic findings in clinical trials: Fulfillment of the principle of justice. Dal-Ré R, Katsanis N, Katsanis S, Parker LS, Ayuso C, PLOS Medicine, 2014; 11(1):e1001584.

Educating future providers of personalized medicine. Katsanis SH, Dungan J, Gilliss C, Ginsburg GS, North Carolina Medical Journal. 2013; 74(6):491-492.

Brave New World of human-rights DNA collection. Kim J, Katsanis SH, Trends Genet. 2013 Jun;29(6):329-32. Abstract

Molecular genetic testing and the future of clinical genomics. Katsanis SH, Katsanis N, Nat Rev Genet. 2013 Jun;14(6):415-26. Abstract

Personal DNA Testing in College Classrooms: Perspectives of Students and Professors. Daley LA, Wagner JK, Himmel TL, McPartland KA, Katsanis SH, Shriver MD, Royal CD, Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2013 Mar 28;. Abstract

Characterization of the standard and recommended CODIS markers. Katsanis SH, Wagner JK, J Forensic Sci. 2013 Jan;58 Suppl 1:S169-72. Abstract

Opinion editorial: Katsanis SH and Kaufman D. “Genetics won’t explain Newtown,” Huffington Post, December 21, 2012.

Policy implications for familial searching. Kim J, Mammo D, Siegel MB, Katsanis SH, Investig Genet. 2011;2:22. Abstract

Opinion editorial: Heaney C and Katsanis SH. “Readers’ Forum: Rape evidence goes untested because of misguided policies,” The Oakland Tribune, July 1, 2010; Contracosta Times, July 1, 2010; “Expanding DNA databases could set back justice,” Detroit Free Press, July 8, 2010; “DNA and crime: Where we should focus,” News and Observer, July 8, 2010; “Expanding DNA databases delays justice,” Baltimore Sun, July 9, 2010; “Addressing the DNA backlog”, July 13, 2010; “DNA, cold cases and more: Addressing DNA backlog in criminal investigations,” WRAL Techwire, July 16, 2010.

Opinion editorial: Katsanis SH. “Use DNA to stop child trafficking,” Toronto Globe and Mail Feb 23, 2010, News and Observer; “The DNA way to valid adoptions,” Feb 28, 2010.

A synonymous mutation in TCOF1 causes Treacher Collins syndrome due to mis-splicing of a constitutive exon. Macaya D, Katsanis SH, Hefferon TW, Audlin S, Mendelsohn NJ, Roggenbuck J, Cutting GR, Am J Med Genet A. 2009 Aug;149A(8):1624-7. Abstract

Developing the blueprint for a genetic testing registry. Javitt G, Katsanis S, Scott J, Hudson K, Public Health Genomics. 2010;13(2):95-105. Abstract

Carrier screening for cystic fibrosis in US genetic testing laboratories: a survey of laboratory directors. Kaufman DJ, Katsanis SH, Javitt GH, Murphy JA, Scott JA, Hudson KL, Clin Genet. 2008 Oct;74(4):367-73. Abstract

Public health. A case study of personalized medicine. Katsanis SH, Javitt G, Hudson K, Science. 2008 Apr 4;320(5872):53-4. Abstract

Oversight of US genetic testing laboratories. Hudson KL, Murphy JA, Kaufman DJ, Javitt GH, Katsanis SH, Scott J, Nat Biotechnol. 2006 Sep;24(9):1083-90. Abstract

Biochemical analysis of cultured chorionic villi for the prenatal diagnosis of peroxisomal disorders: biochemical thresholds and molecular sensitivity for maternal cell contamination detection. Steinberg S, Katsanis S, Moser A, Cutting G, J Med Genet. 2005 Jan;42(1):38-44. Abstract

Correlation between varying levels of PMP22 expression and the degree of demyelination and reduction in nerve conduction velocity in transgenic mice.
Huxley C, Passage E, Robertson AM, Youl B, Huston S, Manson A, Sabéran-Djoniedi D, Figarella-Branger D, Pellissier JF, Thomas PK, Fontés M, Hum Mol Genet. 1998 Mar;7(3):449-58. Abstract

Linkage analysis in a family with the Opitz GBBB syndrome refines the location of the gene in Xp22 to a 4 cM region. May M, Huston S, Wilroy RS, Schwartz C, Am J Med Genet. 1997 Jan 20;68(2):244-8. Abstract

A mutation in the interferon-gamma-receptor gene and susceptibility to mycobacterial infection. Newport MJ, Huxley CM, Huston S, Hawrylowicz CM, Oostra BA, Williamson R, Levin M, N Engl J Med. 1996 Dec 26;335(26):1941-9. Abstract

Intra- and Interpopulation Genome Variation In Meloidogyne arenaria. Hiatt EE, Georgi L, Huston S, Harshman DC, Lewis SA, Abbott AG, J Nematol. 1995 Jun;27(2):143-52. Abstract

GeneReviews™ Pagon RA, Bird TD, Dolan CR, Stephens K, Adam MP, Book. 1993. Abstract


Published Book Chapters

Kim J, Scully J, Katsanis SH (2016) Ethical challenges in missing persons investigations. In Handbook of Missing Persons. Eds. Morewitz SJ and Sturdy Colls C. Chapter 12 [December 22, 2016].

Katsanis SH and Kim J (2016) Privacy challenges with genetic information. In Handbook of Missing Persons. Eds. Morewitz SJ and Sturdy Colls C. Chapter 25 [December 22, 2016].

Katsanis SH and Katsanis N (2016) Molecular genetic testing and the future of clinical genomics. In Genomics and Precision Medicine: Foundations, Translation and Implementation, 3rd edition. Eds. Ginsburg GS and Willard H. Academic Press. Chapter 18 [December 9, 2016].

Katsanis SH and Kim J (2014) DNA in immigration and human trafficking. In Forensic DNA Applications: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Eds. Primorac D and Schanfield M. CRC Taylor and Francis, Chapter 22 [January 31, 2014].