This week at the Progress Educational Trust (27 October 2014)
The Progress Educational Trust (PET) is busy preparing for its next free public event 'Genetic Conditions: How Should Your DNA Be Used in the 100, 000 Genomes Project?', taking place at City University London on the evening of Thursday 6 November. This event is being organised by PET in partnership with Genomics England - the company established by the UK Government to carry out the 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from around 75,000 participants by 2017 - and also in partnership with City University London's Science Journalism course.
The event will see two representatives of Genomics England (Chief Scientist Professor Mark Caulfield and Head of Bioinformatics Professor Tim Hubbard) plus two other experts (Dr Sarah Wynn of Unique, the Rare Chromosome Disorder Support Group and Dr Mark Sheehan of the University of Oxford) discuss what Genomics England intends to do with the 100,000 genomic sequences it acquires, in light of the fact that it will effectively own this data. Click here to find out more, and email to book your free place.
The 'Genetic Conditions' event will build on the success of the recent PET/Genomics England event 'Genomic Medicine Needs You - Do You Need Genomic Medicine?', which saw the clinical and ethical implications of the 100,000 Genomes Project discussed in a packed Oxford venue by Genomics England's Chair Sir John Chisholm, patient representative Richard Stephens and ethicists Professor Michael Parker (Chair of Genomics England's Ethics Advisory Committee) and Dr Simon Woods.
You can find out more about what was discussed in:
The 'Genomic Medicine Needs You' event was chaired by Genomics England's Head of Engagement, Vivienne Parry, who will also be speaking at PET's Annual Conference 'The Commercialisation of Life' at University College London's Institute of Child Health on Tuesday 2 December. This conference will explore questions and controversies surrounding the role of commerce in genetics and fertility treatment.
Besides Vivienne Parry, the stellar lineup of speakers on 2 December will also include Professor Lord Robert Winston, Dr Kári Stefánsson, Professor Julian Savulescu, Peter Thompson, Professor Willem Ombelet, Dr Clare Gerada, Baroness Ruth Deech, Dr Stuart Hogarth, Jeremy Laurance, Dr Yacoub Khalaf, Professor Sarah Franklin, Fiona Fox and John Parsons. Click here for full details, including the conference agenda and how to book, and email with any queries.
As well as working on these events, PET Director Sarah Norcross and Communications Officer Sandy Starr have been busy at other events this week. Sarah has been to the Houses of Parliament to attend a wide-ranging debate about surrogacy law initiated by Jessica Lee (Conservative MP for Erewash), and also to discuss NHS funding of fertility treatment with Julian Sturdy (Conservative MP for York Outer).
Meanwhile, Sandy was at the 10th annual Battle of Ideas festival organised by the Institute of Ideas at the Barbican Centre. He spoke at the debate 'Big Data: Big Danger?' (which tackled subjects including the 100,000 Genomes Project), and he chaired the debate 'Dose of Reality: The Ethics and Politics of Drug Development' (where the panel included the formidable Dr Clare Gerada, whom you can see speaking at PET's 'Commercialisation of Life' conference on 2 December).