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International conference hosted by IU Center for Bioethics to explore emerging ethical, legal and social issues in science and society


INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana University Center for Bioethics will host a “Who’s Who” of international bioethicists May 7 for a set of panel discussions on some of the most pressing issues facing scientists, health care institutions and society.

“Ethics at the Crossroads: Where Public Health, Genomics, Data and Translational Science Meet” will include two keynote presentations and four panel discussions at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Campus Center, 420 University Blvd. The conference is co-hosted by ELSI 2.0, an international “collaboratory” for ethical, legal and social implications of genomics and society. Examples of the issues being discussed include use of biological samples to design better-targeted drugs to cure disease; the capacity of health care institutions and researchers to use “big data”; and the impact of science in a global environment.

“By bringing together the foremost scholars in the world, this conference can address head-on some of the most pressing science topics facing researchers, physicians, policy makers and the public. We hope to provide guidance on these very significant issues to policy-makers, scientists and the general public whose lives can be directly affect by these very issues,” said Eric M. Meslin, Ph.D., director of the IU Center for Bioethics and a member of the ELSI 2.0 steering committee.

“Sciencesploitation: Stem Cells, Hype and the Marketing of Unproven Therapies,” the opening keynote, will be presented by Timothy Caulfield, B.Sc., LL.B., LL.M., Canadian Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta, Canada.

The afternoon keynote will be presented by Susan M. Wolf, J.D., the McKnight Presidential Professor of Law, Medicine and Public Policy and the Faegre Baker Daniels Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School and a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She will explore “Genomic Surprises: Should We Give Patients and Research Participants Unexpected Findings of Clinical Importance?”

International panelists include:

  • Clement Adebamowo of the University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Michael Burgess of the University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Anne Cambon-Thomsen of the French Institute of Health and Medical Research, France
  • Jantina Devries of the University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Kelly Edwards of the University of Washington
  • Gail Geller of The Johns Hopkins University
  • Jennifer Harris of the University of Oslo, Norway
  • Nils Hoppe of the University of Hannover, Germany
  • Kazuto Kato of Kyoto University, Japan
  • Jane Kaye of the University of Oxford, United Kingdom
  • Patricia Marshall of the Case Western University
  • Ron Zimmern of the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Christine Wasunna of the Kenya Medical Research Institute, Africa

Panel presentations will be moderated by Indiana University faculty: Fred Cate, J.D., of the IU Maurer School of Law in Bloomington; Kimberly Quaid, Ph.D., and Peter Schwartz, Ph.D., of the IU Center for Bioethics; Ross Silverman, J.D., MPH, of the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI; and Nic Terry, LL.M., of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis.

This event is supported by the Fairbanks School of Public Health Center for Health Policy; the Public Population Project in Genomics and Society; the Center for Law, Ethics and Applied Research in Health Information; the Center for Genetic Research Ethics and Law at Case Western University;; and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.