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Augustana Thought Leader Forum On Genetics

October 8, 2010, 6:09 PM by Kelli Grant

Augustana Thought Leader Forum On Genetics
SIOUX FALLS, SD - A KELOLAND native and Augustana College graduate has made quite the name for herself in the genetics community.  She's made it her mission to make genetics interesting to everyone. For that, she's receiving quite the honor from her alma mater.

Linda Avey, a1982 graduate of Augustana College, is back where it all began.

Four years ago, she co-founded 23andMe, a company catered to your health.

“It's a personal genetics company that enables individuals to order a kit online.  They go to the website, they order a kit. Simply by spitting into this kit and sending it in, the lab analyzes it and then the company takes the information and data and converts it into information about you that might have something to do with your health or ancestry,” Avey said.

That idea awarded her the TIME Magazine Invention of the Year in 2008. She also won the World Economic Forum's Tech Pioneer Award.

Friday, she was celebrated as an accomplished alumni as a speaker at Augustana's Thought Leader Forum.

She spoke about her company that she knew would be very controversial and introduced the audience to her newest venture as founder and President of Brainstorm Research Foundation.

“Trying to use social networks to recruit people into research studies to hopefully really broaden our reach so we can get more people enrolled,” Avey said.

Avey's father in-law had Alzheimer's Disease so she's determined to understand neurological diseases

“Dealing with it and coping with it, is really tough so if there are ways that we can slow it down and try to stop it in its tracks that's something that I think we all should be thinking about,” Avey said.

And understanding it is the key to someday preventing it.

“We're probably a little too late for my generation. But if I can do something that will help my children, then that's where my passion comes from,” Avey said.

Avey currently lives in California. She'll receive the Alumni Achievement Award this weekend at Augustana's Homecoming.

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