Monthly Archives: February 2013

Consortium Grand Rounds: Speaking Science to Law

eaturing Deborah Hussey Freeland, PhD, JD

About the Speaker:
University of San Francisco Associate Professor Deborah M. Hussey Freeland’s research on the interfaces between law and science is uniquely informed by her experience a lawyer, scientist, and theorist. Her law review articles contribute to our understanding of professional identity and ethics in interdisciplinary collaboration, and include “What Is a Lawyer?: A Reconstruction of the Lawyer As an Officer of the Court” (St. Louis University Public Law Review, 2012), “Maieusis Through a Gated Membrane: ‘Getting the Science Right’ in Public Decisionmaking” Stanford Environmental Law Journal, 2007), and “The Sine Qua Non of Copyright” (Journal of Copyright Society of the U.S.A., 2004). She also has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in prominent scientific journals, and spoken on a variety of topics involving law and science, environmental decisionmaking, identity theory, and professional ethics. She has created a pathbreaking seminar titled Science and the Law, and brings a comparative perspective on the methods and epistemology of science to her courses Civil Procedure and Evidence.

From Bench to Society: Law and Ethics at the Frontier of Genomic Technology

This is an all day event put on by the Hastings Law Journal and the UCSF / UC Hastings Consortium on Law, Science & Health Policy.

This symposium anticipates the legal and ethical implications of advances in genomic technologies. For example, whole-genome sequencing is now possible at the prenatal stage. A parent could screen a fetus—not only for birth defects, but also with the intention of creating a “designer baby.” Further, whole-genome sequencing can potentially redefine risk analysis in the health insurance context, where genomic information could indicate the predisposition of any number of future health outcomes.

What happens when an insurance company uses a test to determine exactly what risks you present for any number of conditions and uses that data to adjust your health insurance premiums? In addition, it is now possible to individualize medicine, like cancer treatments, so certain drugs would only work for those with certain genetic indicators. Drug companies, for instance, could develop treatments based on those who exhibited dominant genetic traits (potentially marginalizing minority populations).  

Beyond the health care context, genomic information could also be used to predict predispositions to commit criminal acts and indicate the likelihood of recidivism. Could genomic indicators then be used in probation hearings? These advances in genomics implicate a host of policy and societal issues, and this conference broadly discusses what this means for the law.


8:00 – 9:00  Registration and Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15  Welcome

9:15 – 10:00  The State of the Science: Kelly Ormond, MS CGC Stanford University

10:00 – 10:15  Break

10:15 – 12:00 Panel I: Predictions of Future Health
Moderator:  Jaime King, JD, PhD UC Hastings
Panelists: Wylie Burke, MD, PhD University of Washington
Mark Rothstein, JD, University of Louisville
Mildred Cho, PhD, Stanford University

12:00 – 12:45  Lunch

1:00 – 1:45  Keynote Speech: George Poste, Chief Scientist, Complex Adaptive Systems Initiative (CASI), Regents’ Professor and Del E. Webb Chair in Health Innovation at Arizona State University

1:45 – 2:00  Break

2:00 – 3:30  Panel II: Individualized Medicine
Moderator:  Osagie Obasogie JD, PhD UC Hastings
Panelists:  Robert Nussbaum, MD, UCSF
Hank Greely, JD Stanford University
Barbara Koenig, PhD, UCSF

3:30 – 3:45  Break

3:45 – 4:45  Panel III: Behavioral Genetics
Moderator:  David Faigman, JD, MA UC Hastings
Panelists:  Josh Buckholtz, PhD, Harvard University
Deborah Denno, JD, PhD, Fordham University
Nita Farahany, JD, MA, PhD Duke University
Taylor Smith, PhD Brown University

4:45 – 5:00  Concluding Remarks

5:00 – 6:30  Reception (Dobbs Atrium)


The symposium was recorded and part 1 can be found here (starts at the 36 minute mark).