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Sara L. (Sally) Tobin

Academic Appointments

Key Documents


Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Principal, Twisted Ladder Media, Inc. (2000 - present)
  • Research Ethicist, Clinical and Translational Education and Research (2003 - present)

Honors and Awards

  • Member, Committee of Visitors, National Science Foundation: Plant Genome Program (2004)
  • Review Panelist, National Science Foundation: Advance Program, Institutional Transformation, STEM Program (2001-2004)
  • Study Section Member, Ad Hoc, National Institutes of Health: SBIR Program (1994-2001)
  • Visiting Professorship for Women Awardee, National Science Foundation (1993-1995)
  • Senior Postdoctoral Fellow, American Cancer Society, California Division (1981-1982)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, National Institutes of Health (1979-1981)
View All 7honors and awards of Sara Tobin

Professional Education

M.S.W.: University of Oklahoma, Social Work (1993)
Ph.D.: University of Washington, Developmental Biology/Genetics (1977)
B.S.: University of Washington, Zoology (Honors) (1968)

Community and International Work

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Tobin is a Senior Research Scholar at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. She obtained her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology from the University of Washington and did postdoctoral research in Genetics at the University of California, Berkeley and in Biochemistry at the University of California, San Francisco. She became a faculty member at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1983 and moved to Stanford University in 1996. Her research contributions have been published in prestigious journals such as Cell, Nature, Genes & Development, Neuron, and Journal of Cell Biology.


With her collaborator, graphic designer Ann Boughton, Tobin has completed the production of three educational multimedia CD-ROM discs about the genetic revolution in medical care sparked by the rapid advances in our knowledge about the human genome. An on-line version derived and updated from these CDs is pending release through Twisted Ladder Media, and is entitled: "The New Genetics: Medicine and the Human Genome. Molecular Concepts, Applications, and Ramifications." In addition, Tobin and Boughton have collaborated on educational websites on inherited risk of breast cancer and on hereditary colorectal cancer with the Stanford Cancer Genetics Clinic.

Tobin's current major research interests include an educational project funded by the National Science Foundation to create and evaluate innovative modules for undergraduates entitled, "The New Genetics: Electronic Tools for Educational Innovation." The modules are presented in on-line form as an electronic course and are accompanied by workbook exercises and problem sets. The content includes principles of genetics, molecular genetic technologies, applications in medicine, environmental biology, agriculture, and society, as well as implications. In addition, she is collaborating on two projects that are exploring the ramifications of using genetic information about addiction risk in the judicial system.

Tobin is a member of the Benchside Consultation Team for the Center for the Integration of Research on Genetics and Ethics, and she evaluates clinical protocols for ethical issues for the Clinical Translational Research Program.



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