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NASEM Webinar: Genome Editing and Security: Governance of Non-Traditional Research Communities

June 25, 2018 @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm


GES Sr. Research Scholar, Dr. Todd Kuiken, and Dr. Piers Millett,Sr. Research Fellow at the Oxford Future of Humanity Institute, to discuss biosecurity and biosafety within the iGEM and DIYbio laboratory communities. 

10:30 Brief Introduction by NAS staff
10:35 Security and the next generation of synthetic biologists – Piers Millet, Future of Humanity Institute
11:00 Biosecurity/Biosafety in a World Without Walls – Todd Kuiken, North Carolina State University
11:25 Q & A
12:00 Adjourn

Advances in genome editing tools outpace the capability of domestic and international security communities to coordinate and develop evidence-based policies for responsible research and application of these tools. 

At a recent international workshop, the InterAcademy Partnership, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the European Academies Science Advisory Council, and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, launched a global conversation about potential security concerns posed by genome editing technologies. One question that arose is whether technology advances will facilitate the ability of a broader range of people to use, or potentially misuse, genome editing tools.

Building upon the discussions at the international workshop, this webinar will explore how non-traditional researchcommunities like the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (IGEM) and the DIYbio community laboratories, are addressing securityquestions with innovative new programs that promote responsible conduct ofresearch.

Dr. Piers Millett is a Senior Research Fellow at the Future of Humanity Institute. Dr. Millett conducts research and analysis on the security implications of, and policy responses to, the deliberate malign use of modern biology and biotechnology. He spent more than a decade working for the Biological Weapons Convention, the international treaty that bans these weapons. He also collaborates with a wide range of internationalorganizations, including the World Health Organization, World Organization for Animal Health, Food and Agriculture Organization, International Committee for the Red Cross, Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs and INTERPOL. Dr. Millett is a foundingmember of the Safety Committee of the International Genetically EngineeredMachines Competition (IGEM) and co-founder of a consultancy firm that works with government, industry and academia to ensure the safe, secure and sustainable exploitation of biology as a manufacturing technology

Dr.Todd Kuiken is Senior Research Scholar at the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University. Dr. Kuiken’s research focuses on democratization of science. In particularly he examines the environmental and biosecurity implications of research and technology, and mechanisms to both stimulate discovery and develop new tools to address public policy challenges that emerge as science advances. In September 2016 he receiveda grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to facilitate interactionsbetween the emerging ‘makers in biology’ ecosystem and formal regulatory institutions to ensure safe, responsible innovation. He is a member of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity Ad-Hoc Technical Expert Group on Synthetic Biology. He is an executive member of the human practices committee at the International Genetically Engineered Machines competition and a founding member of its biosafety/biosecurity committee. In addition, he is collaborating with on a project to ensure safety withinthe rapidly expanding community of amateur biologists and the growing network of community laboratories. The initiative is analyzing and developing programs around the potential biosafety and biosecurity threats associated with such a diffuse community.


June 25, 2018
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
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