UCLA offers CASE Media fellowships on genetics, society and the individual

January 03, 2003

In conjunction with the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), UCLA will host a fellowship program to inform journalists about leading experts' positions on the sweeping medical and societal changes brought by the genetics field to society and individuals. The UCLA-CASE Fellowship Program will take place May 12-16, 2003.

The program will enable journalists to explore issues related to the establishment of the UCLA Center for Society, the Individual and Genetics. Journalists will meet with scientists who are informing and mediating the debate between society's needs and those of individuals trying to make sense of the information overload resulting from the genetic revolution.

"The UCLA-CASE Fellowship Program is an opportunity for journalists to shape the debate and issues surrounding genetics as research and technology continue to unfold," said Edward R.B. McCabe, the center's director.

The dawn of the 21st century has witnessed the sequencing of the human genome and other organisms, producing a billion-dollar enterprise. The post-genomics era is giving rise to genetic engineering for disease prevention, new insights into aging, development of genetically modified foods and the controversial possibility of human cloning.

"The implications of this genetics revolution are profound," McCabe said. "Now that we have completed the 'Manhattan Project' of biology -- the sequencing of the human genome -- it is important to consider the impact of this technology on society and its members."

Journalists can help shape the study of genetics through discussion and debate of topics such as:

  • The Storefront Genome -- What are the implications of direct-to-consumer marketing of genomic sequencing?

  • Informed Decision-Making for Genetic Testing-- What should you know before getting tested?
  • Balancing Genetic Privacy With Research Progress -- How do we measure the benefits to society against the risks to the individual?
  • Use of Residual Samples for Research -- Who will have access to tissue samples and their genomes?
  • Patenting the Human Genome -- What will it mean when companies own your genes?
  • Screening for Adult-Onset Diseases -- When and how will we screen for common diseases like cancer and heart disease?
  • Race and Ethnicity in the Genomic Era -- How the Human Genome Project is redefining our concepts of group identity.
  • Ethical Issues in Human Genetics -- Case-based discussion of issues like technology-driven reproduction, genetic discrimination, gene therapy and stem-cell therapy.
  • Genetics and Gender -- What are the different definitions of gender?
  • Genetically Modified Foods -- If we are what we eat, do genetically modified foods pose a health risk?
  • Engineering Applications of Bioterrorism -- Is it possible to provide hand-held monitors of biological warfare?
  • Choosing Our Children's Genes -- Our best hope or worst fear?

    Answering these questions will require the collaboration of a diverse group of scholars able to translate this knowledge into new disciplines. The new UCLA center will bring together research and education for academia, media and the American public.

    UCLA is designing an undergraduate major for pre-medical and pre-law students, initiating a graduate program, developing new curricula for secondary education, and initiating an annual symposium and conference for the general public.

    Fellows will receive housing on campus, meals and transportation to special events off-campus.

    The deadline to apply for a UCLA-CASE Fellowship is Jan. 31, 2003. Journalists should send a cover letter explaining their interest in the program and explain how a fellowship will benefit their work. They should also send a one-page biography or a resume.

    Send application materials to Roxanne Moster, UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, 924 Westwood Blvd., Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90095. An online application is also available at infoshare.mednet.ucla.edu/uclacase1.htm. A panel of academic and media-relations professionals will review all applications. For more information about the UCLA-CASE Genetics Media Fellowship, contact Roxanne Moster, director of UCLA Health Sciences Media Relations, at roxannem@support.ucla.edu or (310) 794-2264.

    Tentative Schedule (subject to change)

    The Genetic Revolution: Society, The Individual and Genetics

    Monday, May 12: Getty Center Evening Event

    Tuesday, May 13: Society and the Genetic Revolution -- 30 minute talks
  • Genetics as the Moonshot of Biology
  • Impact of Genetics on Medical School Education
  • The Storefront Genome
  • Patenting the Human Genome
  • Screening for Adult Onset Disease
  • Genetic Discrimination -- Case Studies
  • Ethical Issues in Human Genetics
  • Genomics and the Boundaries of Self
  • UCLA Lab Tours

    Wednesday, May 14: The Individual and the Genetic Revolution
  • Genetics and Gender
  • Race and Ethnicity in the Genomic Era
  • Informed Decision-Making in Genetic Testing
  • Balancing Genetic Privacy With Research Progress
  • Pharmacogenomics
  • Reproductive Technologies -- Case Studies
  • Participation in Cancer Research -- Case Studies
  • Tour of Gene Fluidics

    Thursday, May 15: The Future of Genetics
  • Overview of the Future of Genetics
  • Genetically Modified Foods
  • Psychiatric Disorders
  • Autism
  • Engineering Applications of Bioterrorism
  • Impact of Genetics on Health Policy

    University of California - Los Angeles

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