Genetics and New Technologies on WorldCanvass with host Joan Kjaer

February 15, 5:00-7:00pm
Senate Chamber, Old Capitol Museum, and KRUI, 89.7 FM

Vice President Daniel Reed served on a panel of guests that discussed the research world we live in today, examining what’s been made possible by new technologies.

Listen to the program on International Programs' website. All WorldCanvass programs are also available on iTunes.



The study of genetics has come a long way since Gregor Mendel’s groundbreaking work with pea plants in the mid-19th century. Today, entire genomes have been sequenced, including the human genome, and the resulting knowledge has led to an explosion of scientific and medical specialties, advances in the research and treatment of innumerable diseases, and genetic testing that can help parents and patients negotiate problematic diagnoses or put their minds at ease.

New technologies have enabled more and more specialized research, which pushes technological developments forward as multi-disciplinary collaborations produce new inquiries and spur new thinking. At the same time that this brave new scientific world holds so much promise for so many, individuals and societies are finding themselves wrestling with previously unheard of ethical and legal dilemmas.

Our exceptional panel of guests helps us understand the research world we live in today, examining what’s been made possible by new technologies and discussing, for example, how genetic analysis of cancer is helping develop targeted treatments, treatments which can be delivered to patients based on the genetics of their particular cancer. We learn about genetic screenings for newborns, the critical research roles played by the basic sciences and professional fields like engineering, and what it takes to move clinical research into patient care. We also confront emerging ethical and legal issues related to both genetics and new technologies and the choices many will be forced to make for themselves or their loved ones in coming years.


Tom Casavant—director, UI Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

John Logsdon—associate professor, UI Department of Biology

Benjamin Darbro—director, UI Human Cytogenetics Lab, Department of Pediatrics

Daniel Reed—UI vice president for research and economic development
Read an article from Daniel Reed about the topics presented in this show

Val Sheffield—director, UI Division of Medical Genetics

George Weiner—director, UI Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center

Barry Butler—UI provost

Andrew Kitchen—associate professor, UI Department of Anthropology

Diana Cates—professor and chair, UI Department of Religious Studies

Sandra Daack-Hirsch—assistant professor, UI College of Nursing

Josephine Gittler—professor, UI College of Law