Symposium 2018

Where is life science heading in the future: Genes, Technology and Society

May 14-15th 2018, Engelsberg Ironworks

Advances in gene technology have provided new possibilities to understand and cure life-threatening diseases and also new tools to meet environmental challenges. Methods for mapping and editing genes have been refined significantly over the last decades and the range of practical applications has broadened, leading to the first approval of gene therapy for cancer treatment in US this year. Still, some applications are controversial and the risks and the need for regulations are matters of debate.

Gene technology is a perfect example of a scientific field where advances provide radically new opportunities for society and challenge accustomed perceptions of the world we live in. When science and new technology have a large impact on society, what can be expected from the scientific community when it comes to spreading new knowledge to society and taking cautious measures about the use of new technology? Can the scientific community help public to understand benefits and risks and to help form sound policies and nuance the expectations about new technology?

Program 

Moderator: Paul Hudson – Assistant Porfessor at Department of Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm

GENE TECHNOLOGY: THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE 

Where is Life Science heading? Key method development in gene technology. Should we be excited or afraid? How CRISPR/CAS9 is changing the world?

  • Stefan Nordlund – Professor of Biochemistry at the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Stockholm University 
  • Stefan Ståhl – Professor of Molecular Biotechnology, Head of Department of Protein Science, KTH Royal Institute of Technology 
  • Jennifer Kahn – Contributing writer New York Times Magazine, Ferris Professor of Journalism, Princeton University

GENE TECHNOLOGY AT THE SERVICE OF SOCIETY: RESEARCH AND APPLICATIONS

Genome Editing and the EU GMO Legislation. Unearthing the hidden biodiversity in the service of a sustainable society. New gene technologies, cell factories and development of industrial applications.

  • Stefan Jansson – Professor and Head of Department at Department of Plant Physiology, Umeå University
  • Sara Sjöling – Associate Professor in Microbial Ecology, Södertörn University 
  • Per Falholt – CEO at Per Falholt Global R&D Advisory Service, Denmark 

GENE TECHNOLOGY AT THE SERVICE OF SOCIETY: POSSIBILITIES AND RISKS 

Societal benefit, sustainability and ethics in the introduction of genetically modified organisms 

  • Audrun Utskarpen

GENE TECHNOLOGY IN HUMAN MEDICINE: GENETIC DIAGNOTICS AND PRECISION MEDICINE 

Gene technology in human medicine: the past, the present and the future – an introduction. Gene tests in research and from gene-test companies: how far are we from personalized medicine? Whole genome sequencing in rare diseases: a first step towards precision medicine? Evolving genetic technologies for precision cancer medicine.

  • Karin Dahlman-Wright – Professor in Molecular Endocrinology, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, KI
  • Marju Orho-Melander – professor of Genetic Epidemiology, Department of clinical sciences in Malmö, Lund University 
  • Anna Wedell – Professor of Medical Genetics, KI 
  • Douglas Hanahan, Professor of Molecular Oncology, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) & Director, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research (ISREC) 

GENE TECHNOLOGY IN HUMAN MEDICINE: GENETIC ENGINEERING TO TREAT DISEASES AND TO IMPROVE OUR HUMAN NATURE 

Genetic engineering in the cancer clinic. Ought we to improve our human nature? What ethical theories tell us. 

  • Saar I Gill – Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania 
  • Torbjörn Tännsjö – Professor of Practical Philosophy, Stockholm University & Affiliated Professor of Medical Ethics, Karolinska Institutet 

CONCLUSION 

Björn O Nilsson – Chairman of the Board at Stockholm Science City Foundation

2018 Report

This report aims to emphasise the importance of, and the challenges associated with, public outreach and sound scientific communication. Hopefully it can inspire discussion and new trains of thought on the role of the scientific community. The report provides a short introduction to gene technology before highlighting two areas in more detail: gene technology in plant breeding and gene technology in medicine.