A man with white hair and glasses looks pensively at the camera.

Dr. Thomas J. White

Advisory Board Member, Senior Research Fellow


Dr. Thomas J. White is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Research Fellow with the Human Rights Center. Dr. White received his B.A. in Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. His postdoctoral research was carried out at the University of California Medical Center in San Francisco and at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. From 1978-1989, White was employed at the biotechnology firm Cetus Corporation where he held the positions of Vice President of Research and Associate Director of Research and Development. He worked on the discovery, research and development of human proteins and monoclonal antibodies as therapeutics, such as Betaseron for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and on diagnostic tests using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology. From 1989-2000 he was Sr. Vice President of Research and Development at Roche Molecular Systems, a diagnostics division of Hoffmann-La Roche. He was responsible for Roche’s R & D program on the AMPLICOR line of PCR- based tests and the COBAS instruments for the medical diagnosis of infectious disease, genetic disease and cancer, and in developing new applications of PCR for basic research, forensics and the human genome project. From 2000-2011, White was Chief Scientific Officer at Celera. His work involved the discovery of new genotyping, expression and proteomic biomarkers and the development of molecular diagnostic products for complex common diseases (cardiovascular, autoimmune, cancer and neurological) as well as host response to infectious diseases. Since retiring, Dr. White was the Regents Lecturer at UC Berkeley in 2012-13 and has been an advisor to the Human Rights Center, the College of Natural Resources, a Trustee of the UC Press Foundation, the SAGE Scholars Program, the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, and Compassion & Choices – a nonprofit organization that provides support, education and advocacy for people with a terminal illness. He is the author, with Eric Stover and Henry Erlich, of Silent Witness: Forensic DNA Evidence in Criminal Investigations and Humanitarian Disasters (Oxford University Press, 2020).