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Media Advisory

Advances in Genomic Research: Implications for Science & Society

21 April 2003

ATTENTION: Health, biotech and biomedical ethics reporters

Contact: Sarah Yang
(510) 643-7741

"Advances in Genomic Research: Implications for Science & Society," a one-day conference at the University of California, Berkeley, addressing the societal implications of sequencing the human genome.

The conference, sponsored by UC Berkeley's Center for Health Research, brings together leaders in bioethics, science and industry for a challenging discussion of both the promises and pitfalls of genomic research. Speakers will tackle issues such as genetic determinism, hereditary diseases and commercial ventures in genomics.

8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Friday, April 25

Andersen Auditorium, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley

In addition to UC Berkeley faculty, speakers will include:

  • Eric T. Juengst, former chief of the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) branch of the Human Genome Project
  • Gregory Kaebnick, editor of the Hastings Center Report, one of the country's leading journals in the field of biomedical ethics
  • Richard Myers, director of the Stanford Human Genome Center
  • J. Leighton Read, MD, general partner of Alloy Ventures, a Bay Area health care and information technology venture capital firm
  • Bonnie Steinbock, professor and chair of philosophy at the University of Albany, New York

The conference comes 50 years after the discovery of the structure of DNA and nearly two weeks after the completion of the human genome sequence. More debate is needed on how this research impacts society, say the conference organizers.

"There really hasn't been enough public discussion of how advances in genomics can best serve the genuine public interest," said Jodi Halpern, UC Berkeley assistant professor of bioethics and conference co-chair. "We're providing a forum where people can voice conflicting views in a productive environment, and we hope to come away with some answers as to where we, as a society, should go next in the post-genomic era."

The conference is also co-chaired by Thomas Rundall, UC Berkeley professor of health policy and management. The conference is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. For more details, including speaker bios, agenda and registration information, go to http://gr-ss.berkeley.edu/.