May 17, 2005

Community Genomics Forum explores implications of genomics

UW law professors explain racial profiling and use of DNA evidence

Scientists have cracked the human genome and are hoping to predict who might be susceptible to certain diseases or responsive to certain treatments. But scientific advances also raise critical ethical, legal and social questions: How can I protect my family’s privacy? How will genomics affect the legal system? Will genomic medicine reduce health disparities? The UW School of Law plays an important role in addressing these issues.

Dr. Francis CollinsOn Saturday, May 21, 2005 the law school will host a Community Genomics Forum to engage community members, educators, students and professionals in a dialog about genomics research, applications and ethics. Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, will deliver the keynote address. The agenda also includes plenary sessions and smaller breakout gatherings.

Forensic science has also impacted the criminal justice system; the introduction of new technologies to gather and isolate DNA samples makes it possible to conclusively prove guilt or innocence. Professor Paul Steven Miller will explore “Racial Profiling and DNA Evidence” in a breakout session from 11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. in room 127. A second special session will feature Professor Jackie McMurtrie, director of the UW Innocence Project Northwest Clinic, and Associate Dean Patricia Kuszler who will explore the use of DNA evidence to exonerate people wrongly convicted of crimes. This will be from 1:15 – 2:30 p.m. in the Jack R. MacDonald classroom (room 127) of William H. Gates Hall.

In addition, all undergraduate, graduate and professional students are also invited to a forum with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, on Friday, May 20, 2005 from 2:30 – 6 p.m. at Kane Hall, room 110.

Forum participants will have the opportunity to think about society and genetics, to learn from each other, and to raise questions directly with researchers in small group breakout sessions. You are invited! The conference is free and open to the public. RSVP via RSVP Form (pdf) or contact:

  • Chetana Acharya, 206-616-2643, cacharya@u.washington.edu
  • Joon-Ho Yu, 206-616-4979, joonhoyu@u.washington.edu

For more information, please visit: Community Genomics Forum