BTC: Genetic Testing Issues Are Focus Of 3rd Bioethics Forum in Madison


The Third Annual International Bioethics Forum will be held in Madison, Wisconsin on Thursday and Friday, April 22 - 23. Focusing on human health issues, the theme for the conference this year’s conference is Who Knows? Who Should Know? Welcome to the World of Genetic Testing!

Confirmed keynoters include:
Ø R. Alta Charo, JD (Elizabeth S. Wilson - Bascom Professor of Law and Bioethics; Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development, University of Wisconsin Law School): “The U.S. Supreme Court and the Future of Morals Legislation”
Ø Henry T. Greely, JD (C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law and Co-director, Stanford Program on Genetics, Ethics, and Society, Stanford University): “Genetic Testing: The Issues from a Global Perspective”
Ø Jeffrey P. Kahn, Ph.D. (Director of the Center for Bioethics and Maas Family Chair in Bioethics, University of Minnesota): “Ethics and the Use of Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis: “From Avoiding Disease to Creating Donors”
Ø Barbara A. Koenig, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, School of Medicine, Stanford University): “Targeting Drugs by ‘Race’: What’s At Stake in Human Genetic Variation Research?”
Ø Robyn S. Shapiro, JD (Director, Center for the Study of Bioethics, Ursula Von der Ruhr Professor of Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin and Director, Health Care Practice Group, Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP): “Privacy and Genetics”
Ø Also featuring an annual "Reflections from Diverse Faith Perspectives" panel discussion: Imam Ronald Beyah (Chaplain, Dodge Correctional Institution, Waupun, WI); John Dunne, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor, Languages and Cultures of Asia, UW-Madison); Rabbi Andrea C. Steinberger (Hillel Foundation, The University of Wisconsin); Father Razz Waff, D.Min., B.C.C. (Director of Pastoral Care and Ethics, Vista Health, Waukegan, IL).

The two-day event, moderated by Todd McVey, M.Div. (HospiceCare, Inc.), is designed to facilitate participants’ understanding of:
Ø How genes are identified and analyzed; how genes are associated with human health conditions.
Ø Ethical issues related to genetic testing.
Ø The diversity of viewpoints regarding these issues and the complexities involved in understanding both the scientific and social dimensions of genetic testing.

In addition to the keynote presentations, concurrent sessions will address: The Right Not to Know; Stem Cells and Genes: What’s the Connection?; Diagnosis and Treatment of Genetic Diseases; Genetic Counselors: Our Purpose and How We Work; Finding a Gene: Current Technologies; Genetic Enhancement: Where Do We Draw the Line Between Treatment and Enhancement?

A new event, free of charge and open to the public, has been added to this year’s schedule. Hosted by the Center for Biology Education and the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center, Professor Charo will be joined by Dr. Greely and Dr. Kahn for an on-campus panel discussion of the Forum theme from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 22nd in the auditorium of the Genetics/Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall, UW-Madison.

The Bioethics Forum will be held at Promega’s BioPharmaceutical Technology Center (BTC), home to its educational non-profit institute, the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI). “Building on what we have learned at our previous forums, we are pleased to once again offer a venue for public discussion of these important topics,” said Bill Linton, President & CEO of Promega and President of the BTCI Board of Directors.

Carl Gulbrandsen, Managing Director of WARF, agreed: “There is a need to foster thoughtful discussion about scientific advances and their implications for society. WARF is pleased to be included in the list of diverse community organizations supporting this event.”

An anonymous foundation, BTCI, Promega and WARF are gold sponsors of the event. Silver sponsors include: FOTODYNE, Inc., Gehrke & Associates, S.C.; Madison Area Technical College; Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP; Wisconsin Medical Devices and Biotechnology Association; Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

Contributors include: Bio-Link National Advanced Technological Center for Biotechnology; Center for Biology Education, UW-Madison; Department of Medical History and Bioethics, UW-Madison; HospiceCare Inc.; LaFollette, Godfrey & Kahn, S.C.; Midwest Ethics Committee Network, Center for the Study of Bioethics, Medical College of Wisconsin; Wisconsin Chaplaincy Commission; Wisconsin Council of Churches; Wisconsin Technology Network.

The Bioethics Forum is open to the general public, and the registration fee is $65. The BTC is located at 5445 E. Cheryl Parkway in Fitchburg Center, off of South Fish Hatchery Road.

For more information, including links to the brochure and on-line registration, please visit BTCI’s website:, or contact BTCI (608-273-9737).

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