Are we ready to edit our children’s genes?

Overview

Just ten years ago, questions about editing genomes of the next human generation were largely hypothetical. The prospect of erasing fatal or debilitating diseases was seen as a goal worth pursuing, even as some worried about the slippery slope of using this technology to create “designer babies.” Since then, the science has progressed rapidly. We now have a variety of tools that move these possibilities from theoretical to plausible. Based on his own research, as well as knowledge of the findings of others conducting stem cell research, Dr. Snyder will describe some of these tools and lead a discussion addressing key questions such as: Do we want to do this at all? If we are editing human genomes, then should this be done in vitro, in utero, or after birth? Are there some things we should not do? Who decides?

Guest Speaker

Evan Y. Snyder, who is regarded as one of the “fathers of the stem cell field”, earned his M.D. and Ph.D. (in neuroscience) from the University of Pennsylvania and received training in Philosophy, Psychology, and Linguistics at Oxford University. He began his career as a physician-scientist at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital where, in addition to running a lab, remained clinically active in pediatrics, pediatric neurology, and newborn intensive care. After 23 years at Harvard, he was recruited to the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute and University of California-San Diego as Professor and founding director of the Center for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine and the Stem Cell Research Center & Core Facility. His lab studies the basic and translational biology of stem cells (particularly neural) with the goal of understanding normal and aberrant development, tissue homeostasis and plasticity, inter-cellular communication, oncogenesis, and recovery of function as well as using stem cells to model disease pathogenesis and pathophysiology (for pathway mapping, therapeutic target identification, and drug discovery). Clinically-active, a leader in regional ethics programs, and engaged in graduate and medical school education, Dr. Snyder often serves as a “bridge” between the basic science, clinical, and industrial communities. He served 2 terms as Chairman of the FDA’s Cellular, Tissue, and Gene Therapy Advisory Committee.

Moderator

To be announced

Date & Time

Wednesday, November 1, 2017, 5-7 PM

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