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Past BERGIT Meetings

Information on past meetings can be found by expanding the dates below. Presenters, descriptions, and available resources are provided for each meeting.

June 28th 2019 | Law Enforcement and Commercial DNA Databases

Presenters Osagie K. Obasogie
Chair of the Haas Institute's Diversity and Health Disparities research cluster
Professor of Bioethics, Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health
UC Berkeley

Andrea Roth
Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Berkeley Center for Law and Technology
UC Berkeley

Rori Rohlfs
Assistant Professor, Cell and Molecular Biology
San Francisco State University

Description

Professors Roth, Rohlfs, and Obasogie led a discussion focused on the technical, legal, and ethical consideration of law enforcement access to commercial DNA databases such as 23andMe or MyHeritage.

Resources

Readings

April 12th 2019 | Ethics and Science 2030

Presenters Lea Witkowsky, Sharon O'Hara, & Lex Owen - led a discussion
Description

This meeting continued the previous conversation. As scientific advances like CRISPR have accelerated the time from discovery to application, what role should education in ethical, legal, and social implications take in future life science training? What kind of ethical knowledge and capacities are essential in the future?
Prior to this meeting, an electronic, updated questionnaire was sent to all members and IGI as a whole and some of the results of that questionnaire were discussed.

Resources

From the Meeting

February 8th 2019 | Training the Next Generation of Researchers

Presenters Jodi Halpern - What is Bioethics and where does it come from?

Sharon O'Hara & Lex Owen - led a discussion

Description

This meeting built on a topic that came up in our meeting following the announcement of the first CRISPR babies born. Participants raised the point that the researcher who led this experiment was trained at some of the best scientific institutions, and here in the USA. What can we learn from this? How should we be training future generations of researchers, particularly in Bioethics? Will the future of biological research require a different training approach? Jodi Halpern and researchers Sharon O'Hara and Lex Owen put together a questionnaire to prompt discussion in the group about what kind of ethics training do current researchers in the life sciences receive.

Resources

From the Meeting

  • the Belmont Report | Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research

 

Additional Resources

December 7th 2018 | CRISPR Babies Born

Presenters Megan Hochstrasser - The "Science" of the Experiment

Santiago Molina - The atmosphere on the ground

Mark Yarborough - The role of IRBs in Clinical Trials

Jodi Halpern - Informed Consent, Culture of Ethics

Description

On the eve of the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing, reports emerged that the first CRISPR-edited babies had been born, spurring widespread condemnation and controversy. This BERGIT meeting will provide a forum for discussion about this revelation and the conditions under which the experiment happened. The meeting will be structured starting with a few short presentations, followed by open discussion. We intend to use the majority of the time for discussion.

Resources

From the Meeting

  • Megan Hochstrasser's presentation
  • the Belmont Report | Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research

Additional Resources

November 2nd 2018 | Reflections on Asilomar and Napa Meetings

Presenters Santiago Molina & Gordon Pherribo - “Democratizing” Technology: Expertise and Innovation in Genetic Engineering
Description

CRISPR-Cas gene editing has the potential to increase individual and community wellness through the development of agricultural products and treatments for genetic diseases. Debates held in the 1970’s about recombinant DNA technology (rDNA) are frequently used as a model of successful governance for emergent technologies. Using these debates as models reinforces information boundaries between scientists and the public by having scientists with technical expertise lead decision-making that influences local, national and global communities.

This project aims to understand the democratic governance of novel technologies. How have scientists constructed the boundaries of public engagement in deliberations around new technologies in genetic engineering? How do these boundaries shape the potential of new technologies to improve individual and community wellness and healthcare? To address these concerns, we are comparing the process of public involvement and expert decision-making surrounding rDNA and CRISPR-Cas9 technologies.

Resources

From the Meeting

Additional Resources

  • CSHL DNA Learning Center page about the Asilomar Meeting
  • Napa Meeting resulting publication: A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification | Science3 Apr 2015 | web | download

August 24th 2018 | FDA Draft Guidance for Gene Therapy

Presenters Lea Witkowsky - Brief history of gene therapy, and Draft Guidances for Long Term Follow-up

Ken Taymor - Draft Guidance for Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Control

Description
  • Our meeting this Friday will focus on the recently released Draft Guidances for Gene Therapies from the FDA. These guidance documents describe how the FDA will be regulating gene editing therapies (as a subset of gene therapy), and are open for public comment until Oct. 10. Their release presents an opportunity for us to discuss if and how regulation of gene editing therapies should differ from the regulation of classic gene therapies. Separately, Lea and Ken will be leading an effort to collect comments for submission to the FDA. This meeting of BERGIT will not be an official part of this effort, but it may help shape it. To facilitate discussion, Lea and Ken will provide an overview of what is in the guidance that may warrant consideration, and then we will open the floor to discussion from the group.
Resources

FDA's Draft Guidances

Final Comments Submitted by IGI

July 13th 2018 | Creation of Ethics Bodies for Genome Editing

Presenters Ben Hurlbut - the Global Observatory for Genome Editing

Ken Taymor - Draft Guidance for Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Control

Description

Recently, two groups published proposals for similar deliberative bodies to examine the ethics of genome editing - the Global Observatory for Genome Editing, and the European-based Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing (ARRIGE). Coauthor of the Global Observatory, Ben Hurlbut, will present his proposal, and Ken Taymor will go over highlights of ARRIGE. We will then open the floor for discussion. What are the merits of these approaches? What are their pitfalls? The publications presenting these two entities will be sent ahead of the meeting so that attendees can come prepared.

Resources Readings

Additional Readings and Resources

Websites

April 6th 2018 | Genome Editing as Genome Surgery

Presenters Bruce Conklin - Genome Editing as Genome Surgery
Description

The Conklin lab is developing medical applications of CRISPR technology to treat severe mono-allelic genetic diseases of the retina, motor neurons, and cardiomyocytes. As part of his efforts to bring gene editing technologies to bear on intractable medical problems, he has coined the term “genome surgery”. In the first part of our meeting, Bruce Conklin will tell us about the choice of this term and the novel regulatory pathways it may suggest for clinical uses of CRISPR. Following the presentation, we will have a discussion on the regulatory and ethical merits/concerns of recasting the technology to use alternative regulatory pathways.

Resources Conklin Lab page

 

February 2nd 2018 | Gene Editing in Agriculture

Presenters Peggy Lemaux - History of Modification of Plants and Gene Editing Regulatory Landscape

David Zilberman - Economics of Genome Editing in Agriculture

Description Drs. Lemaux and Zilberman will tell us about old and new methods of plant modification, and the economic and regulatory landscape associated with new gene editing technology. A discussion will follow as usual.
Resources Presenter Websites:

December 15th 2017 | POPVOX and IGI survey

Presenters Marci Harris - Introduction to POPVOX and the idea behind BigQuestions

Lea Witkowsky - Review of the draft survey questions

Description At this meeting, we will continue our discussion about the collaboration between POPVOX and the IGI to create an informational video and survey to invite public participation in the debate on the ethics and societal implications of CRISPR. At our last meeting we learned about this project, and at this upcoming meeting, we will discuss a draft of the survey questions. A brief background to the project will be included at the start of the meet for those that could not join us previously. To make the most of our meeting time, the draft questions will be sent out ahead of time so we can spend the bulk of the time in discussion.
Resources POPVOX website

 

November 3rd 2017 | Public Engagement and POPVOX survey

Presenters Marci Harris - Introduction to POPVOX and the idea behind BigQuestions

Megan Hochstrasser - IGI's outreach and engagement efforts

Lea Witkowsky - Current surveys on public opinion of gene editing

Description Marci Harris will introduce her civic startup and her goals with BigQuestions spinoff. Megan and Lea will discuss our intended collaboration and what's already been done to assess the public's opinions of gene editing. We will then discuss how our efforts should differ, and as for feedback from the group.
Resources POPVOX website

Past Surveys