US embryo research is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute May 23

MEDIA ADVISORY

Jeff Falk
jfalk@rice.edu
713-348-6775

US embryo research is topic at Rice’s Baker Institute May 23

HOUSTON – (May 15, 2018) – Scientists, policy scholars and ethicists will present preliminary research on the 14-day limit on human embryo research in the United States from scientific, policy and ethical perspectives at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy May 23.

Among the speakers will be Ali Brivanlou, the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Embryology at Rockefeller University, who made international headlines in 2016 for growing human embryos in his lab for longer than ever before, ending at 14 days after fertilization.

Hosted by the Baker Institute’s Center for Health and Biosciences and sponsored by the Greenwall Foundation, the event is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Who: Ali Brivanlou, the Robert and Harriet Heilbrunn Professor and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Molecular Embryology at Rockefeller University; Daniel Wagner, associate professor of biosciences at Rice and a Baker Institute Rice Faculty Scholar; Kirstin Matthews, fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute; and Ana Iltis, professor of philosophy and director of the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society at Wake Forest University and nonresident scholar for biomedical research policy at the Baker Institute.

Neal Lane, senior fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute, will give welcoming remarks.

What: A conference titled “Drawing the Line: Ethical, Policy and Scientific Perspectives on U.S. Embryo Research.”

When: Wednesday, May 23, 8:30-11:30 a.m. Registration and breakfast begin at 8.

Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Kelly International Conference Facility, 6100 Main St.

Research on human embryos in the U.S. is restricted by nongovernmental guidelines to the first 14 days of their development or to the formation of the primitive streak — an observable, early step in the formation of neural tissue, according to event organizers. In 2016, scientists in the U.S. and the U.K. published reports on the first successful attempts to cultivate human embryos in vitro that survived for a full 14 days, stopping research for the first time because of the guidelines. Many scientists and ethicists are now questioning the validity of the deadline, organizers said. The conference will explore questions such as whether it is an ethically justifiable point to end research, or whether it is just a public policy tool to limit research that previously was only hypothetically possible.

The public must RSVP for the event at www.bakerinstitute.org/events/1882. A live webcast will be available at the event webpage.

Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to www.rice.edu/maps. Media are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage.

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Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.