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February 18, 2002

Stem cell lectures set for Feb. 21

By Eric Rangus


Two events grouped into one evening will explore the many questions involving stem cell research.

On Feb. 21, a panel workshop will be held in Winship Ballroom from 4–6 p.m. titled, “Stem Cell Research, Public Policy and the Role of the University.” Claudia Adkison, executive associate dean for admission and faculty affairs in the School of Medicine, will join Georgia Tech Assistant Professor of Public Policy Bhaven Sampat, Glenn McGee, associate director for the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Steven Stice, associate professor and senior research scientist at the University of Georgia.

The workshop will focus on the legal and public policy issues raised by stem cell research and address the role academic institutions play in that research, as well as the ties with industry that invariably are part of the

For instance, Stice, whose research focuses on developing animal cloning techniques, is vice president for human stem cell research at BresaGen Inc., an Australia-based biotechnology company that owns four of the human embryonic stem cell lines approved for National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding.

Shortly after the workshop, McGee and Stice will lead a discussion at 7:30 p.m. called “The Science and Ethics of Stem Cell Research,” that also will take place in Winship Ballroom.

Don Stein, director of the Brain Research Laboratory in emergency medicine, will respond to the two speakers.

“Stem cell research has raised a lot of ethical questions we’ve been dealing with as a culture,” said Chance Hunter, communications coordinator of the Center for Ethics, which is cosponsoring the two events with the School of Law, the Graduate Division of Biological and Biomedical Sciences and Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

That the ethics center would become involved in a somewhat sticky subject like stem cell research is not a stretch. The center has a well-developed program in health-science ethics and is the founder of the Health Care Ethics Consortium of Georgia.

The controversy over stem cell research has only increased since last August, when President George W. Bush limited work to existing stem cell lines, and the ideal place to explore this issue, Hunter said, is through the ethics center. “It’s natural for this event to fall under our scope,” he said.

Both programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Center for Ethics at 404-727-4954.