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Building directly on the dialogue about the moral status of the human embryo as discussed in our July 2004 conference, the Ethics Center organized an intensive, multidisciplinary panel workshop over a day and a half to examine the proposals recently presented to the President’s Council on Bioethics about possible alternative sources of human embryonic stem cells for research. Such alternative stem cell sources might resolve the conflict between the experimental need to use human embryonic stem cells and the concern of many that such experimental use requires the destruction of embryonic human life. The workshop resulted in a provisional consensus statement, and produced a series of ethical questions about these alternative stem cell options, which were then addressed by participants from the community during a luncheon session on June 7th. Each table at the luncheon engaged in moderated discussion of one of these questions, and in a wrap-up session, each table moderator presented the summary of this discussion to the entire group.
White Paper: Alternative Sources of Pluripotent Stem Cells
Ms. Alikani is a Senior Research Scientist with Tyho-Galileo Research Laboratories, West Orange, New Jersey. A biologist by training, Ms. Alikani was employed by the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility of Cornell University Medical Center-The New York Hospital from 1989-1995 and from 1995-2004, she co-directed the IVF Laboratory of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Science at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in West Orange, New Jersey. A Ph.D. Candidate in the Institute of Reproduction and Development, Monash University, with Professor Alan Trounson as Sponsor and Advisor, Ms. Alikani’s dissertation is on Origins and Clinical Consequences of Atypical Division in Human Embryos in vitro. She has written and presented widely on embryo fragmentation in development.
Dr. Condic is an Associate Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine, with an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pediatrics. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago , her doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley , and postdoctoral training at the University of Minnesota . Since her appointment at the University of Utah in 1997, Dr. Condic’s primary focus has been the development and regeneration of the nervous system and the control of neurite outgrowth and axon guidance of embryonic neurons. In 1999, she was awarded the Basil O’Connor Young Investigator Award for her studies of peripheral nervous system development. In 2002, she was named a McKnight Neuroscience of Brain Disorders Investigator, in recognition of her research in the field of adult spinal cord regeneration. In addition to her scientific research, Dr. Condic teaches both graduate and medical students. She has published and presented seminars nationally and internationally on science policy and bioethics.
A specialist in bioethics and aesthetics, Dr. Devereaux is a member of the Research Ethics Program at UCSD. She is Director of the Biomedical Ethics Seminar, a monthly meeting of research scientists, medical clinicians, philosophers, and administrators to discuss issues such as medical futility, human subjects research, stem cell research, etc., and Tough Cases, an ethics program for medical students and other graduate students. Dr. Devereaux’s current research focuses on issues of medical enhancement such as cosmetic surgery, gene therapy, and psychopharmacology and how increasing patient demands for these services affect the definition and professional norms of medicine. She currently consults and presents widely on the ethics of human embryonic stem cell research and development of research policy. Dr. Devereaux serves on the Human Subjects Committee IRB at The Burnham Institute and belongs to The American Philosophical Association, the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, The Association for Women in Science and the American Society for Aesthetics.
Kevin Eggan received his Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in February of 2003. He is currently a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, and he will begin a position as an Assistant Professor of Biology at Harvard in the fall of 2005. Dr. Eggan has devoted the last seven years to performing stem cell research. He is currently leading a research group that is investigating the mechanisms regulating epigenetic reprogramming after somatic cell nuclear transfer and using nuclear transfer techniques to derive disease-specific human embryonic stem cell lines from diabetic and Parkinson’s patients. His accomplishments include cloning mice from olfactory sensory neurons, deriving embryonic stem cells, and characterizing the abnormalities that sometimes arise as a result of nuclear transfer.
Dr. Lawrence S.B. Goldstein is Professor of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the School of Medicine , at the University of California , San Diego . He is also an Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He receives grant funding from the NIH, the Johns Hopkins ALS Center , the Hereditary Disease Foundation, and the Ellison Medical Foundation and has over 100 publications. Dr. Goldstein received his B.A. degree in biology and genetics from UCSD in 1976 and his Ph.D. degree in genetics from the University of Washington , Seattle in 1980. He did postdoctoral research at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 1980-1983 and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1983-1984. He was Assistant, Associate and Full Professor at Harvard University in the Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology from 1984-1993 and moved to UCSD and HHMI in 1993. His