Cracking the Code: Life and Wellness in the Genomic Age with discussants Robert Tjian, Stanley Cohen, J. Michael Bishop, Irv Weissman, and Kathy Hudson at The 2007 Aspen Health Forum. Susan Dentzer moderates.
Has the unlocking of the genetic code changed the way you see health and illness? If it hasn't yet, it soon will. The code holds the answers to the future of medicine. What are the social, political, and medical implications of understanding DNA?- Aspen Institute
J. Michael Bishop
J. Michael Bishop is University Professor and Chancellor at the University of California, San Francisco, and a recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Dr. Bishop and his colleague Dr. Harold Varmus were jointly awarded the Nobel for their discovery of proto-oncogenes' normal genes that can be converted to cancer genes by genetic damage. This work led to the recognition that all cancer probably arises from damage to normal genes, and provided new strategies for the detection and treatment of cancer.
Dr. Bishop has served as a scientific advisor or member of numerous oversight boards, including the Board of Trustees of The Salk Institute, the National Cancer Advisory Board, and the Medical Advisory Board for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is the author of more than 300 research publications and reviews, and of the book How to Win the Nobel Prize: An Unexpected Life in Science.
Stanley N. Cohen is Professor of Genetics and the Kwoh-Ting Li Professor in the School of Medicine at Stanford University. He and his colleague Herbert W. Boyer revolutionized the disciplines of biology and chemistry in 1973 with their discovery of methods to transplant and clone genes, and are named as inventors on the basic patents underlying the field of genetic engineering.
Among Dr. Cohen's awards are the National Medal of Science, the National Medal of Technology, the Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Lemelson-MIT Prize, the Albany Medical Center Prize in Biomedical Research, and the Shaw Prize. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and the Institute of Medicine of the NAS. His recent investigations include studies of the role of host cell genes in microbial infections.
Susan Dentzer is Senior Policy Adviser for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Kathy Hudson is Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins University Berman Institute of Bioethics, Institute of Genetic Medicine and Department of Pediatrics, as well as Founder and Director of the universityâ€™s Genetics and Public Policy Center. Dr. Hudson established the center with a $10 million grant from The Pew Charitable Trusts to focus exclusively on public policy issues raised by advances in human genetics.
Her research interests include the scientific, legal, ethical and social issues related to human reproductive genetic technologies, genetic testing, gene transfer and human cloning. Before founding the center, Dr. Hudson was Assistant Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, where she was responsible for communications, legislation, planning and education activities.
Prior to that, she served as a senior policy analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services and worked on Capitol Hill. Dr. Hudson holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.
Michelle McMurry is Director of the Health, Biomedical Science, and Society Policy Program and the Aspen Health Forum at the Aspen Institute. She trained in pediatrics and molecular immunology. Since transitioning into health and science policy, her work has focused on the intersection of biomedical research funding policies and healthcare disparities and global health inequities. She has been a Global Health Fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Health Policy at George Washington University.
She was formerly a Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco. She formerly oversaw health and social policy issues for Senator Joseph Lieberman and was the senior health policy advisor for the Lieberman for President Campaign. She also worked to improve diversity in graduate science education in the Office of the Director of the National Science Foundation as an AAAS Science Policy Fellow.
Robert Tjian is Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty Director of the Health Sciences Initiative and Director of the Stem Cell Center at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Howard Hughes Investigator. Foremost among his achievements, Dr. Tjian is known for helping to shed light on the molecular machinery used by human cells to decode the genome and control the switches that turn genes on and off. His research has provided insights into Huntington's disease, cancer, diabetes, and infertility, and he has received many awards for his work, including California Scientist of the Year in 1994 and the National Academy of Sciences Monsanto Award for Molecular Biology. Dr. Tjian is co-founder of Tularik, Inc., a San Francisco biotech company that is a leader in regulating gene expression by targeting transcription factors and other proteins involved in DNA transactions. He also chairs the UC Berkeley Chancellor's Advisory Council on Biology.
Irving L. Weissman is Karel and Avice Beekhuis Professor of Cancer Biology at Stanford University, where he also serves as Director of both the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Weissman was the first to isolate an adult stem cell in 1988 when he isolated a blood-forming stem cell in mice. He later isolated the blood-forming stem cell in humans, the human neuronal stem cell, and more recently the leukemia stem cell in a type of human myeloid leukemia.
His recent focus has been the purification, biology, transplantation and evolution of stem cells. He was a founding member of the Amgen, DNAX, and T-Cell Sciences scientific advisory boards and has received the Kovalenko Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the De Villiers Award of the Leukemia Society of America and the 2002 California Scientist of the Year from the California Science Center.