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Susan Persky, PhD
NHGRI/NIH

Dr. Susan Persky is an associate investigator and head of the Health Communication and Behavior Unit. She also directs the Immersive Simulation Program (ISP) within the Social and Behavioral Research Branch (SBRB) at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH). She earned a B.A. in psychology from Northwestern University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studied at the Research Center for Virtual Environments and Behavior. After conducting postdoctoral research at Columbia University, she came to the SBRB in 2005. Here, she built an immersive virtual reality-based experimental research lab, founded in 2006, which is now the central hub of the ISP.

Dr. Persky splits her effort between providing leadership for the ISP and conducting her programmatic research. Her substantive work investigates the function of new genomic knowledge about common, complex health conditions like obesity and diabetes in interactions between healthcare providers and patients and in public and online discourse. Dr. Persky has published extensively in the areas of health communication, genomics and virtual reality methods and has presented in venues such as the Smithsonian Institution and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Virtual and Augmented Reality.