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our mission

DNA Bridge is a consortium of scientists, human rights advocates, and scholars convening to advocate for the development of an international protocol that sets out guidelines and best practices for a DNA-led approach to identifying and locating the families of children separated by armed conflicts, disasters, and inhumane immigration policies in a secure, ethical, and humane manner.

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logo explanation

The DNA Bridge logo can be read as both a double helix DNA strand and a bridge. The cables of the bridge link science and human rights to create a DNA-led structure that can safely connect separated family members. Its arch shelters our lowercase name, reflecting the use of DNA as selective and protective tool. The bridge also represents a safe, smooth, and efficient pathway across borders and the necessary collaboration between organizations for family reunification. Our gentle turquoise colors represent both science and the feelings of home and family.


what we do

Zero tolerance policy response

The separation of families from their children as a result of the "zero tolerance" policies of the former Trump Administration and the methodological lack in the attempt at reunification, is a clear example of the importance of establishing a scientific strategy based on the studies of DNA.

  • Emphasize the need to reunite families separated as a result of the Zero Tolerance policy 

  • Highlight the need for safety for migrant families and children and solutions for separated families

  • Develop a DNA-led approach to reunify separated families since 2017, where reunification is safe and responsible and with consideration of the best interest of the child first

Global separations response

The lack of science-based tools to reunite the Zero Tolerance separated families highlights the need for global tools to address ongoing and future family separations

  • Advocate for global DNA-led tools for future family separations

  • Advocate for socially responsible use of science, avoiding potential misuse and colonialism

  • Construct a DNA-led approach for reunification of families outside of government control with global applicability

  • Advocate for necessary legislative or regulatory reforms specifically with regard to operationalizing the approach with clear DNA data access and use restrictions

  • Develop consent protocols and ethically sound policies for DNA data handling


who we are


Sara Katsanis

Sara Katsanis is a Research Assistant Professor at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago & the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

Chicago IL

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Elizabeth Barnert

Elizabeth (Liz) Barnert is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Los Angeles, CA


Maria Veronica Svetaz

Maria Veronica (Vero) Svetaz is an Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, Medical Director of Aqui Para Ti/Here for You youth development program, and Diversity Committee Chair for the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine

Minneapolis, MN