Last updated mid-2012.

About BGI

BGI was founded in Beijing on September 9th, 1999, with a mission of advancing science and technology, building strong research teams, and promoting scientific partnerships in genomics. In 2007, BGI's headquarters was relocated to Shenzhen, while it became the first citizen-managed, non-profit research institution in China.

Scientific advisory board.

Two high-profile papers.

Striving for excellence, high efficiency, and accuracy, BGI has completed numerous significant projects. These include contributing 1% of the Human Genome Project's reference genome and 10% to the Human HapMap Project; rapidly sequencing and combating the SARS virus and E. coli O104:H4 bacterium; completely sequencing the rice genome, the silkworm genome, the first Asian diploid genome, and the potato genome; and many more. While conducting these projects, BGI has developed world-class technical platforms for large-scale genome sequencing, efficient bioinformatic analysis, and genetic health care innovation.

About the Cognitive Genomics Lab

BGI created the Cognitive Genomics Lab in 2011 with the goal of investigating the genetics of human cognition. Current projects include prosopagnosia ("face blindness") and general intelligence.

Core team

Chris Chang is a visiting scholar at BGI, and serves as Project Manager for the Cognitive Genomics Lab. A veteran of numerous math and programming contests, he has the dubious distinction of having been the lowest scorer on the worst-placing US International Mathematical Olympiad team in history. He received his BS and PhD in Mathematics from Caltech and UCSD, respectively.


Rui Yang is director of the psychology arm of the BGI Cognitive Genomics Lab. She received her BA in Psychology from Yale and master's degree from Brown, and is currently a PhD candidate in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences at Brown. Passionate about genomics and psychological research, Rui enjoys logic puzzles, music, and horseback riding as well.


Bowen Zhao is director of the bioinformatics arm of the BGI Cognitive Genomics Lab. Bowen left high school early to work full-time on genomics, after a startlingly productive internship contributing to BGI's cucumber sequencing project.


Steve Hsu is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oregon and Director of its Institute of Theoretical Science. Educated at Caltech and Berkeley, he was a Harvard Junior Fellow and Assistant Professor at Yale before moving to Oregon in 1998. He is also the founder of two Silicon Valley software startups in the area of information security.


James Lee is a postdoctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Biological Modeling at the National Institutes of Health and a research associate at the BGI Cognitive Genomics Lab. He recently received his PhD in Psychology from Harvard University. In the picture you can see the result of his first collaborative genetic experiment with his wife.


Laurent Tellier is a visiting scholar at BGI from the University of Copenhagen Bioinformatics Centre and entrepreneur founder of an informatics startup, and serves as chief data officer for the Cognitive Genomics Lab. Laurent is also coordinating with Denmark's military and the WTCCC to provide the European cohorts for the study.

Collaborators and Advisors

Carson Chow is a Senior Investigator in the Laboratory of Biological Modeling at the National Institutes of Health. Chow holds a PhD in theoretical physics from MIT. His interests are in mathematical and systems biology including neuroscience, obesity, and gene regulation.


Brad Duchaine is an associate professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College. Brad was a faculty member at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London from 2005-2010, following a postdoc in Harvard's Vision Lab and a PhD at UC-Santa Barbara. Brad's main interest is social perception, and much of his work has involved developmental and acquired prosopagnosia.


Ken Nakayama is the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. The Vision Sciences Society recognized his seminal research on all aspects of vision by electing him to serve as its first president. A mild prosopagnosic himself, he is currently studying deficits in face recognition.


Steven Pinker is Harvard College Professor and Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. He has been named Humanist of the Year, and is listed in Foreign Policy and Prospect magazine's "The World's Top 100 Public Intellectuals" and in Time magazine's "The 100 Most Influential People in the World Today." His research on visual cognition and the psychology of language has won prizes from the National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Institution of Great Britain, and the American Psychological Association.


Robert Plomin is MRC Research Professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. His research is on the interplay between genes and environment in the development of cognition and behavior. He is one of the world's most highly cited psychologists and has lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Society, the Behavior Genetics Association, and the Society for Research in Child Development.