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About the Author

Philip R. Reilly earned his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, studied human genetics at the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and graduated from Yale Medical School in 1981. He did his medical residency at Boston City Hospital. He earned board certification in internal medicine and clinical genetics, and a law degree at Columbia University. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Human Genetics, and he is a Founding Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics. He twice served as President of the American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics. During the 1990s, Reilly was the Executive Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Mental Retardation in Waltham, Massachusetts, a nonprofit that worked on understanding childhood and adult neurological disorders. Dr. Reilly has held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and Brandeis University. Since 2009 he has worked as a venture partner at Third Rock Ventures in Boston where he focuses on helping to start companies to develop innovative therapies for orphan genetic diseases. Over the years he has published six books and many articles about the impact of advances in genetics. Reilly frequently works with patient groups who are concerned with rare genetic disorders.


"A physician, attorney, and biotech entrepreneur, Philip Reilly clearly illuminates rare genetic disorders, the struggle to understand and treat them, and the promise of the latest advances in genetic testing and therapy. Engaging and compassionate, Orphan brings the exciting advances in biomedical research to life. This excellent volume is enriched by the often heroic stories of parents and physician-scientists determined to find answers."
- David J. Skorton, MD, Secretary, The Smithsonian Institution

"A fascinating, engaging, and at times inspiring look at the past, present, and future of genetic medicine told through the stories of scientists, doctors, patients, and parents who were heroes in the fight against genetic disease. Thoroughly enjoyable."
- Hank Greely, Stanford Law School, an authority on public policy issues in genetics
"Reilly's Orphan provides a very interesting and readable history of the various approaches used in efforts to first understand and then treat children who suffer from rare genetic diseases. Research efforts to identify rare genetic changes that cause disease used to require decades and large families, but with the rapid advances in genome sequencing over the past 15 years, this can now be done in weeks. Orphan discusses how these new discoveries might be coupled with gene editing or cell therapy to offer new hope to families."
- J. Craig Venter, PhD, Chairman and CEO, J. Craig Venter Institute, and a pioneer in human genomics
"Written with clarity and from first hand experience by a pioneer who is helping to develop new breakthrough therapies for children with rare genetic diseases, this book takes you by the hand and pulls you into the world of these children and their heroic parents, many of whom helped to champion new treatments working with equally heroic scientists and physicians. The story is truly compelling."
- Donald Ingber, MD, PhD, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University

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