Preventing Overdiagnosis 2018 Conference, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 20-22, 2018 (invited keynote speaker)
Johnny was invited to give a keynote presentation on “Engaging diverse communities on the benefits and implications of genetic diagnosis” at the 2018 Preventing Overdiagnosis conference. This is an annual international meeting of researchers, medical professionals, patient advocates and policymakers working towards the goal of optimal diagnosis and treatment for all patients.
Professional development workshop on Identity, Genetics and History, Sanford Research, Sioux Falls, SD, July 25-27, 2018 (organizer)
For the second year, pgEd took our summer professional development workshop for teachers on the road as part of our NIH-funded ARC (Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics) project. Organized with the Sanford PROMISE science exploration program at Sanford Research, the workshop brought together almost 40 educators from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities, from throughout the Midwest. In addition to presenting updated versions of many of our existing lessons, we also piloted some of our new materials in development on the topics of ancestry, gender, and informed consent.
The 17th Annual Summer Institute For K-12 Educators, Kerrville, TX, July 23-26, 2018 (course faculty)
This year, Dana joined the K-12 Summer Institute, a 4-day professional development conference supported by the Texas A&M Health Science Center and focused on the connections between health and the environment, to each two workshops: “Personal Genetics: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Reproduction, Crime and Athletics” and “Genetics in the Past, Present and Future: From the American Eugenics Movement to CRISPR”.
Genome Writers Guild 2018 Conference, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, July 19-21, 2018 (invited speaker)
Johnny gave a presentation titled “Engaging diverse voices in the era of genome editing” at the Genome Writers Guild annual conference, “The Next Revolution: Genome Engineering 2018.” The GWG is a community of researchers, entrepreneurs, artists and more, whose goal is to “develop the foundation for the ethical and effective use of genome engineering and to foster communication by which we will address major issues in our society.”
Professional development on Genetics and Social Justice, Boston, MA, July 11, 2018 (organizer)
Fabienne organized a one-day professional development workshop which drew teachers from Boston and beyond. Sessions explored the emerging field of personal genetics, the history of the American Eugenics Movement, and the use of DNA in criminal investigation and law enforcement.
Teaching the Genome Generation Course for High School Teachers (course faculty)
Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, June 24-29, 2018
California Northstate University College of Health Sciences, Rancho Cordova, CA, July 9-13
Dana once again led the ethics strand of a week-long integrated professional development course on molecular genetics, bioinformatics, and bioethics in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory, funded by the NIH Science Education Partnership Award. This year, the course was offered at Bowdoin College for New England teachers, and in Sacramento for California teachers.
Intercampus Summit on Gene Editing: Dialogue at the Intersection of Science, Ethics, and Faith, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, June 12, 2018 (organizer, panelist)
pgEd enjoyed a collaboration with Louise Huang, who is the Director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University, to organize this symposium on gene editing for ~60 faculty and administrators from eight Christian colleges and universities in Southern California. Marnie and Ting gave presentations on pgEd and emerging genetic technologies, respectively, followed by interdisciplinary panels on ethics and strategies for engaging communities of faith. The highlight of the day was a lively “four-corners” discussion, in which participants shared personal stories, professional insights, and religious perspectives on the application of genetic technologies.
2018 BIO International Convention, Boston, MA, June 7, 2018 (moderator, panelist)
pgEd organized a panel, titled “Engaging Our Nation and Our World in the Era of Gene Editing,” at this year’s convention of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. The panel was moderated by Marnie, and panelists include Fabienne, Shaykh Khalil Abdur-Rashid (Muslim Chaplin, Harvard University), Rev. Dr. Nathan Barczi (Associate Pastor, Christ the King Presbyterian Church), and Michael Friend (co-founder, Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine).
CRISPRcon 2018, Boston, MA, June 4-5, 2018 (thought partner, panelist)
The second annual CRISPRcon: Conversations on Science, Society and the Future of Gene Editing, was held in Boston, hosted by the Broad Institute and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research. This year, pgEd developed the conference’s program in partnership with Keystone Policy Center and the CRISPRcon Steering Committee. Florcy was also a speaker on the panel “CRISPR and the ‘Culture Creators’: The role of thought leaders, trendmakers, and trust builders in societal conversations on gene editing.”
Boston 2018 Sci-Ed Innovators STEM Expo, Boston, MA, June 2, 2018 (keynote speaker)
Fabienne was the keynote speaker at this event, which showcased STEM projects by K-12 students and teachers representing urban schools from the Boston area. This event was organized by the Sci-Ed Innovators Fellowship Program, which is designed to engage and support New York City and Boston science and math teachers.
Lives in Me, Roxbury, MA, May 3, 2018 (invited speaker)
Fabienne was a guest speaker at the “Lives in Me” series launch event at the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, organized by the Afrimerican Culture Initiative, which explored the use of DNA ancestry testing as a means for the African diaspora to reconnect with African culture.
Genomics and epi-Genetics: Impact on Developments in Medicine and Society, Regis College, Weston, MA, April 30, 2018 (moderator, panelist)
Marnie moderated this special forum organized by Medical Development Group Boston, which highlighted the scientific progress, business opportunities, and social and ethical implications of the fields of genetics and epigenetics. Panelist included pgEd advisor George Church (Harvard Medical School; Personal Genome Project), Robert Green (Genomes2People project, Brigham and Women’s Hospital), and Manolis Kellis (MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab).
Webinar for Asian University for Women, Chittagong, Bangladesh, April 16, 2018 (invited lecture)
Ting gave a seminar on advances in personal genetics, via teleconference, to students and staff at AUW.
Women and the Future of Education and Entrepreneurship: Maximizing Impact, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, April 3, 2018 (invited panelist)
Johnny was invited to speak on a panel on innovative education solutions, held in honor of International Women’s Day.
Race and Ethnicity: Incorporating History, Society and Genetics to Improve Human Health, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, March 23, 2018 (invited panelist)
Johnny participated in this interdisciplinary discussion on how meaningful advances in personalized medicine and global health will require careful consideration of the historical, social and genetic components of race and population ancestry. Other panelists included geneticist Melissa Wilson Sayres, historian Matthew Delmont, and humanities scholar Jacqueline Wernimont.
Professional development on Genetics and Social Justice, Boston, MA, February 22, 2018 (organizer)
Lauren organized a one-day professional development workshop which drew teachers from Boston and beyond. Sessions explored the emerging field of personal genetics, advances in genome editing technology, the history of the American Eugenics Movement, and the use of DNA in criminal investigation and law enforcement.
Hot Button, Cool Issues, Jewish Community Center Greater Boston, Newton, MA, February 1, 2018 (invited panelist)
Ting was invited to speak on a panel on science and religion. The panel was moderated by former NPR reporter and author, Barb Hagerty, and also featured Paul Root Wolpe (Director at the Center for Ethics, Emory University), Ian Hutchinson (Professor of Nuclear Science, MIT), and Rabbi Geoffrey Mitelman (Founding Director, Sinai and Synapses).
CRISPR Workshop III, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, January 18-19, 2018 (invited participant)
Ting, Marnie and Fabienne represented pgEd at a workshop that brought together a small and interdisciplinary group of scholars to discuss education and public engagement regarding the use of CRISPR technology. This was the third in a series of three workshops on CRISPR being organized by Drs. Jennifer Doudna and William Hurlbut with support from The Templeton Foundation.
Workshop for Maine School of Science and Math at the Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, January 11, 2018 (invited workshop)
Dana led a workshop on the topic of “Henrietta Lacks and informed consent in the genome age” with students from the Maine School for Science and Math, who were spending their winter term at the Jackson Laboratory.
Conversation with Muslim community leaders, Boston, MA, November 29, 2017 (host)
pgEd invited community members and faith leaders of the Muslim community in Boston to discuss issues surrounding genetics, faith, and diversity. pgEd looks forward to more events of this kind to expand the voices and perspectives in conversations about how genetic technologies and precision medicine should move forward.
Strategies for Addressing the Achievement Gap in Boston Public Schools, Bolling Municipal Building, Roxbury, MA, November 20, 2017 (organizer)
pgEd, in partnership with Boston Public Schools’ Office of Opportunity and Achievement Gaps, organized this first-of-its-kind event at the BPS headquarters at Bolling Municipal Building. With presentations given by Fabienne, Lauren, pgEd director Ting Wu and advisor George Church, the event presented information on how pgEd professional development workshops can address the educational achievement gap in Boston public schools. The pgEd team enjoyed the opportunity to interact with BPS teachers and staff, and looks forward to further opportunities of working with the school district.
National Association of Biology Teachers annual conference, St. Louis, MO, November 9-12, 2017 (presenter, exhibitor)
Fabienne, Florcy and Lauren attended the 2017 NABT conference at St. Louis, meeting hundreds of teachers at pgEd’s booth and giving away over a thousand copies of pgEd lesson plans. Fabienne also presented our lesson on genome editing and CRISPR to a packed room of teachers, who were able to engage with both the scientific content and the ethical questions that genome editing raises.
YouthWOKE workshop, Bolling Municipal Building, Roxbury, MA, November 3, 2017 (invited speakers)
CJ, Fabienne and Florcy gave a presentation on race, culture and identity to the YouthWOKE program at the Boston Public Schools headquarters at Bolling Muncipal Building. YouthWOKE (Working On Knowledge and Equality) was started by BPS students as a space for discussing racial relations inside and outside of the classroom. During the presentation and discussion, which went over the originally allotted time, the students were very inquisitive and asked a lot of interesting questions, and were able to look at issues from different angles.
Gene Editing: Who Draws the Line?, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, October 5, 2017 (special lecturer and panelist)
Ting visited Azusa Pacific University to give a special lecture on CRISPR and participate in a panel discussion with Amgen scientist, Nathan Joh, and APU Philosophy Chair, Rico Vitz. This event, organized by the Center for Research In Science (CRIS), was part of a series on Science and Faith at APU, a Christian university. A standing-room only crowd took part in the discussion, which stimulated endless interest, questions, and reflection.
Deep Dive: The Ethics of CRISPR, Los Angeles, CA, September 21, 2017 (invited speaker)
pgEd director Ting Wu and advisor George Church joined Shakir Cannon (Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine) and Michael Friend (MCPM and Health Ministries Network) as featured speakers at a pair of salons for filmmakers, organized by the Science & Entertainment Exchange of the National Academy of Sciences. These events, one hosted by NeueHouse Los Angeles and the second at the home of Jerry and Janet Zucker, focused on genome editing – both the potential of these breakthrough technologies as well as the ethical questions and implications for social justice.
Biotech and its Representations in Popular Culture – ‘Orphan Black,’ Durham, NC, September 15, 2017 (invited panelists)
Marnie and Johnny discussed the portrayal of genetics and geneticists in the Canadian science fiction television series, Orphan Black, as part of a panel at the Duke University Health Humanities & Social Justice conference. This was an interdisciplinary discussion that also featured Orphan Black alums, Cosima Herter and Mackenzie Donaldson, and English professors, Everett Hamner, Rebekah Sheldon, and Priscilla Wald.
National Society of Genetic Counselors annual conference, Columbus, OH, September 14, 2017 (invited speaker)
Marnie joined Dr. Kareem Washington, who spoke in the place of Dr. Tshaka Cunningham, and Pastor Chad Baldanza in a panel moderated by genetic counselor, Molly McGinnis (Illumina), on “Achieving True Diversity in the Age of Genomic Medicine.” Marnie’s talk highlighted the importance of engaging all communities in a dialogue to shape the path forward. Over 100 genetic counselors turned out for this session that addressed how genetic counselors can get involved.
CRISPRcon, Berkeley, CA, August 16-17, 2017 (invited panelist)
Ting joined Roxi Beck (Center for Food Integrity), Rick Loverd (Science & Entertainment Exchange) and Michael Specter (The New Yorker) on the panel “CRISPR in the Public Eye: Societal perceptions of science” at CRISPRcon, a conference on “Science, Society, and the Future of Gene Editing.” pgEd and the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine co-hosted a breakout session on “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the CRISPR Debate” that centered on how to meaningfully engage underrepresented voices so that perspectives from all communities are a part of the dialogue on genome editing.
Summer Institute: Genetics and Social Justice, Boston, MA, July 11-12, 2017 (organizer)
pgEd held our sixth annual Summer Institute for teachers at Harvard Medical School. This two-day workshop on Genetics and Social Justice explored select topics from pgEd’s lesson plans and included a brainstorming session that solicited feedback from the 24 teachers in attendance on a new curricular unit pgEd is developing on Genetics and Identity.
Teaching the Genome Generation Course for High School Teachers, The Jackson Laboratory, Bar Harbor, ME, July 9-14, 2017 (course faculty)
For the third year, Dana led the ethics strand of a week-long integrated professional development course on molecular genetics, bioinformatics, and bioethics in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory. This course, funded by the NIH Science Education Partnership Award, draws high school teachers from in and around Maine.
Summer Institute: Genetics and Social Justice, Brockton High School, Brockton, MA, June 27-29, 2017 (organizer)
For the first time, pgEd took our summer professional development workshop for teachers on the road for the first time as part of our NIH-funded ARC (Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics) project. Hosted by Brockton High School, the workshop brought together 30 educators from the sciences, social sciences, and humanities for sessions on the intersection of genetics and social justice and an encore presentation on genetics and space travel in the school’s planetarium. Three attendees, who travelled from South Dakota to participate in the workshop, are partnering with pgEd to host a workshop in Sioux Falls, SD in summer 2018.
Teaching the Genome Generation Course for High School Teachers, The Jackson Laboratory, Hartford, CT, June 25-30, 2017 (course faculty)
For the third year, Dana led the ethics strand of a week-long integrated professional development course on molecular genetics, bioinformatics, and bioethics in collaboration with The Jackson Laboratory. This course, funded by the NIH Science Education Partnership Award, draws high school teachers from in and around Connecticut.
CRISPR Workshop II, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, June 17-18, 2017 (invited participant)
Ting represented pgEd at a workshop that brought together a small and interdisciplinary group of scholars to discuss the ethical issues surrounding the use of CRISPR technology. This was the second in a series of three workshops on CRISPR being organized by Drs. Jennifer Doudna and William Hurlbut with support from The Templeton Foundation.
AtlanticLIVE, Boston, MA, June 13, 2017 (invited panelist)
Ting joined Dr. Robert Green (Harvard Medical School) and Dr. Joyce Tung (23andMe) for a panel discussion before a live television audience as part of the program on PULSE: On the Front Lines of Health Care. The panel, moderated by Sharon Begley of STAT News, addressed the “The Personal Genetics Revolution.”
The 4th ELSI Congress, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, CT, June 5-7, 2017 (invited speaker)
Dana organized a workshop on education and engagement at the 4th ELSI Congress on “Genomics and Society: Expanding the ELSI Universe.” Dana, who spoke about pgEd’s efforts with teachers, Hollywood, policymakers, and faith communities, was accompanied by Charlie Wray (The Jackson Laboratory) and Maurice Godfrey (University of Nebraska) in a session that highlighted “Tools for bioethics engagement: New approaches and materials for the classroom and beyond.”
NIH SciEd conference, Washington, D.C., May 30 – June 2, 2017 (PI, poster)
Marnie attended the SciEd conference, which brings together educators funded by the Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program to share findings and foster collaboration. She presented a poster on the first year of pgEd’s ARC (Building Awareness, Respect, and Confidence through Genetics) project and moderated a panel discussion on “Working with populations suspicious of science.”
Precision Medicine and Personal Genetics: Promoting Conversations, Boston, MA, May 25-26, 2017 (host)
pgEd partnered with the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine to organize a meeting which brought together Christian leaders, scientists, and community members for two days of frank and powerful discussions on genetics and precision medicine, faith, race, and diversity.
Future of Medicine Conference, Denver, CO, May 11-12, 2017 (invited speaker)
Marnie and Ting represented pgEd at Centura Health’s conference exploring the frontiers of health and medicine. Ting was a keynote speaker along with Harvard Professor and pgEd advisor, George Church, in a session on Future Applications of Gene Editing and the Potential Effects on Health Equity.
Get Inspired seminar at Illumina, San Diego, CA, May 5, 2017 (invited speaker)
Johnny, along with Dr. Tshaka Cunningham of the Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine, spoke with staff at the genetic technology company Illumina about the importance of diversity in genomics research and precision medicine.
AtlanticLIVE, New York City, NY, April 26, 2017 (invited panelist)
Ting joined Dr. Paul Appelbaum and Dr. Arthur Caplan for a panel discussion before a live television audience as part of the program on Sequencing the Genome: Examining modern medicine. Moderated by Dr. James Hamblin of the Atlantic, the panel addressed the “Opportunities and Challenges Ahead.”
Visits to Montrose, Mitchell, Wagner, and Bon Homme High Schools, southeastern SD, April 26, 2017 (guests)
The pgEd team enjoyed a 350-mile roadtrip to meet with teachers and administrators of four South Dakota schools to lay the groundwork for our 2018 professional development in Sioux Falls in partnership with Liz McMillan of the Sanford Program for the Midwest Initiative in Science Exploration (PROMISE).
Community Experience on Personal Genetics, Harrisburg, SD, April 25, 2017 (invited guests)
pgEd was privileged to take part in a community conversation on personal genetics, led by high school students in Harrisburg, South Dakota. Attended by 110 students, community members, and educators, this first-of-its-kind community event was a great success, full of energetic conversations across generations.
Science by the Pint, Cambridge Science Festival, Somerville, MA, April 20, 2017 (invited panelist)
Johnny participated in “A Panel Discussion on Genetic Engineering” along with bioethicist George Annas and scientists George Church and Wilson Wong. This event, hosted by Science in the News at Aeronaut Brewing Company, was part of the 2017 Cambridge Science Festival.
Association of Health Care Journalists conference, Orlando, FL, April 20, 2017 (invited panelist)
Ting spoke on a panel about genome editing at the Association of Health Care Journalists conference in Orlando, Florida. This panel, sponsored by The Hastings Center, also featured Josephine Johnston of The Hastings Center and was moderated by Dina Fine Maron of Scientific American.
Professional development on Genetics and Social Justice, Boston, MA, April 19, 2017 (organizer)
Lauren organized a one-day professional development workshop which drew teachers from Boston, Cambridge, and beyond to discuss advances in personal genetics, the American Eugenics Movement, and our newest lesson on genome editing.
Smithsonian Institute traveling exhibition, Bangor Public Library, Bangor, ME, April 13, 2017 (invited speaker)
Dana was a featured speaker at the programming around the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibition on “Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean To Be Human?” at the Bangor Library. She met with librarians and gave a talk on genome editing, de-extinction, and the implications for human identity.
Professional development on Genetics and Social Justice, Boston, MA, March 31, 2017 (organizer)
Lauren organized a one-day professional development workshop, our first in which social studies teachers outnumbered the biology teachers. Sessions explored the emerging field of personal genetics, the history of the American Eugenics Movement, and our newest lesson on genome editing.
NHGRI Genomic Literacy meeting, Bethesda, MD, March 13-14, 2017 (invited participant)
Marnie represented pgEd at this meeting of 120 leaders, convened by the National Human Genome Research Institute, to discuss strategies for increasing genomic literacy. Marnie contributed to lively conversations on how to effectively engage teachers and classrooms, communities, and health care professionals.
The Future of Gene Editing, Science and Education Policy Association, Rockefeller University, New York, NY, January 26, 2017 (invited panelist)
Marnie participated in a multi-disciplinary panel discussion on CRISPR with Jamie Metzl (Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council), Roberto Barbero (Former Assistant Director on Biological Innovation, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy), and Matthew Liao (Director, Center for Bioethics, New York University). The discussion looked 5, 10, and 20 years into the future, considering potential applications of CRISPR, policy questions, long-term societal implications, and the importance of engaging the public. The audience was a lively mix of individuals from New York’s academic, industry, and policy communities with seemingly endless questions and comments.
NHIT Collaborative for the Underserved Annual Collaborative Conference, Oxon Hill, MD, December 14, 2016 (invited panelist)
Johnny represented pgEd at the third annual conference of the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved (NHIT), “The Perfect Storm: Genomics, Precision Medicine, and Health IT Innovation – Opportunities in Underserved Communities.” The conference convened leaders in science, ethics, business, law, medicine and policy to explore the opportunities that may be created by advances in precision medicine and genomics to address health disparity, community empowerment and economic development in underserved communities. Johnny spoke on the panel “ELSI and the Business of Genomics.”
American Society of Human Genetics Annual meeting, Vancouver, Canada, October 19, 2016 (organizer/speaker, invited session)
Marnie chaired and Ting spoke at an invited session on “Education in Action: Meeting the Challenges of 21st Century Genetics,” which drew over 150 attendees to discuss parallel efforts for raising awareness, building trust, and increasing genomic literacy.
American Society of Human Genetics annual high school workshop, Vancouver, Canada, October 18, 2016 (invited presenter)
This was pgEd’s third year presenting at this workshop, which travels each year with the ASHG scientific conference. Marnie led three workshops for ~80 Vancouver-area high school students and teachers, who discussed and debated ethical questions at the intersection of genetics and athletics.
Minority Coalition for Precision Medicine Summit, Health Ministries Network, Baltimore, MD, September 7-8, 2016 (keynote speaker)
The Health Ministries Network convened a meeting of African American pastors and ministers with the goal of mobilizing the faith community to engage congregations on the topic of precision medicine.Ting, Marnie, and Johnny traveled to Baltimore, along with geneticist George Church (also a pgEd Advisor), Pastors Nathan Barczi and Chad Baldanza (Christ the King Church of Cambridge and Jamaica Plain/Roxbury, respectively), and Ann Merchant (The Science & Entertainment Exchange), for this two-day meeting, which was filled with frank discussion and ended with a sense that much could be accomplished by working together.
Writers Retreat, The Science & Entertainment Exchange, National Academy of Sciences, Carefree, AZ, August 5-7, 2016 (invited speaker)
The Science and Entertainment Exchange brought together ~ 15 writers of television and film and an equal number of scientists and researchers to brainstorm world issues, storylines, and shared goals from morning until late into the night. As always happens under the guiding influence of Ann Merchant and Rick Loverd of the Exchange, much common ground was found between the fields and professions represented.
Summer Institute for High School Teachers, Boston, MA, July 19-21, 2016 (organizer)
pgEd hosted its fifth summer institute, which drew 50 educators from science, health, social studies, and art to explore the intersection of genetics and social justice. This workshop, funded by the NIH SEPA program, included sessions on precision medicine, consumer genetics, reproductive genetics, gene editing, the American Eugenics movement, the microbiome, the law and DNA, research ethics, and the intersection of genetics and space. This energetic group of teachers from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Rhode Island, and South Dakota collectively serve ~6,800 students annually.
Festival of Genomics – Boston, MA, June 28-29, 2016 (exhibitor)
Johnny, Marnie and Trisha brought a spotlight on engaging the public to the Festival, attended primarily by scientists and healthcare professionals, by exhibiting pgEd resources at a booth donated by Frontline Genomics. In addition, Ting chaired a session on Space Genetics, and Marnie tried out her theatrical skills as an actor in “The Drama of DNA.”
pgEd Industry Forum for Forging Community Partnerships, Boston, MA, May 19-20, 2016 (organizer)
pgEd convened over 40 representatives from healthcare, education, business, government, film and television, and communities of faith to explore strategies for tackling the gap in awareness and conversation about personal genetics between well-served and underserved communities. This one-of-a-kind meeting included leadership from some of the top companies in genetics, including 23andMe, Complete Genomics, DuPont, Editas Medicine, Illumina, Natera, Seven Bridges Genomics, and Veritas Genetics. Attendees were challenged to devise strategies that could achieve nation-wide awareness and conversations about genetic technologies within five years.
Capitol Hill briefings
Personal Genetics: Scientific Advances and Accelerating Public Awareness, hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, May 13, 2014 (organizer)
Advancing a new initiative to engage our nation’s lawmakers, pgEd held a Congressional briefing on developments in the fields of genetics, personalized medicine, and genetic engineering as well as successful strategies for engaging the public. Speakers included Dana, Marnie, and Ting from pgEd and pgEd Advisor, George Church. The 90-minute program drew ~65 attendees, and several stayed 30-minutes or more for one-on-one conversations. As a result, pgEd was invited to organize a series of briefings to delve more deeply into the intersection of genetics and emerging policy questions.
Advances in Personal Genetics and GINA: Expanding Options and Protecting Civil Rights, hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, October 3, 2014 (organizer)
The briefing began with an update on recent advances in genetic technologies and then featured the latest research from the front lines of the Ebola outbreak. It then focused on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), wherein a panel of experts looked ahead to new challenges arising from developments in technology, medicine, genetics, neuroscience, and beyond
Personal Genetics and Law Enforcement: Improving Public Safety, Ensuring Justice, and Balancing Civil Rights, hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, March 19, 2015 (organizer)
pgEd’s third briefing began by highlighting research that illustrates how scientists are utilizing cutting-edge tools that probe the hidden world of microbes to improve health and increase public safety. Then, a panel of experts addressed the uses of DNA in the criminal justice system and emerging policy questions surrounding the acquisition, interpretation, and storage of DNA samples. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter was in attendance and lent her remarks to the discussions.
Gene Editing and Frontiers in Genetic Technologies: Innovations, Impacts, and Implications, hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, November 17, 2015 (organizer)
Three pioneering scientists who are all leaders in their fields – Drs. Diana Bianchi, Jennifer Doudna and George Church – spoke about technologies ranging from non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT), CRISPR gene editing, to DNA nanotechnology. The standing-room only event was attended by over 150 staffers from Congressional offices, various government departments and agencies, academic and professional societies, and other members of the public.
Enduring the Extremes: Space Travel, Genetics, and Astronaut Health, hosted by Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, May 3, 2016 (organizer)
This program left Earth’s orbit to focus on genetics and space travel, looking at the health effects of spaceflight, potential contributions of genetics to protect the health of astronauts, and the ethical considerations. The standing-room only event was attended by almost 200 staffers from Congressional offices, various government departments and agencies, academic and professional societies, and members of the public.
The Common Thread: What Genetics Tells Us About Ancestry, Health, and Personal Identity, hosted by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Bill Foster, May 15, 2018 (organizer)
This briefing was focused on exploring how advances in genetics are producing new tools for investigating commonalities and differences across human populations, and their implications for precision medicine, racial identity, and beyond. Four expert scientists – Drs. Eimear Kenny, Charles Rotimi, Kerry Ressler and George Church – discussed how a person’s DNA, together with the environment, contributes to health, disease susceptibility, and response to medications. For the first time, pgEd held two programs back-to-back, one on the House of Representatives side of Congress, and the second one on the Senate side.