Consortium Introduction

The Consortium conducts original research, serves students and faculty, and advances public dialogue and understanding on emerging issues at the intersection of science and society.

Latest News

Discovery Across Disciplines image

Discovery Across Disciplines Showcase in Coffman Union Oct. 15

October 13, 2015

From noon until 2 this Thursday, more than 60 of the University of Minnesota’s interdisciplinary centers and institutes, including the Consortium, will be available to discuss their work and answer your questions. You can connect with others across campus who share your research and scholarly interests at this poster-session-style event. Browse the exhibits, interact with researchers, network with colleagues, and learn about opportunities for involvement in interdisciplinary inquiry. Graduate students, postdocs, and faculty new to the University within the past few years are especially encouraged to attend, as are members of the Twin Cities business, government and nonprofit communities. This event is free and open to the public; no reservations are required. For more information, visit

Illustration for Future of Medicine talk

Future of Medicine is Topic of 10/22 Common Good Breakfast

October 8, 2015

At this panel presentation, radical and evolutionary advances will be explored that have the potential to change every aspect of our healthcare. Presenters will discuss how bionics, robotics, new technologies and new materials are giving healthcare – and our bodies – a whole new look. Panelists include Brian Van Ness, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology & Development at the University of Minnesota and Founder & CEO, Target Genomics, LLC; Robin Young, CEO, Orthopedics This Week, Pearldiver Data Technologies and Liventa Bioscience; and Eric Timko, CEO, Blue Belt Technologies. The panel will be moderated by business columnist Lee Schafer of the Star Tribune. The event runs from 7:30-9:30am and will be held at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton; the cost of a ticket is $30 and proceeds will go to Gilette Children's Specialty Healthcare. To learn more or register, click here

MRSA Virus

Global Policy Talks Needed on Risks, Benefits of Modifying Viruses for Research

October 5, 2015

An article in Nature describes efforts by the US government to determine whether it should continue to ban federal funding for studies that could make some viruses more dangerous. Writer Sara Reardon notes, such research "can help scientists to answer important questions about how a microbe evolved or how to kill it. But it is tricky to determine when the risk of accidentally releasing such a pathogen outweighs the benefits of this 'gain-of-function' research." Consortium Chair Susan M. Wolf, JD, is a member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which will issue final recommendations on the conduct of this type of research in early 2016. Prof. Wolf notes that these guidelines, while important, cannot be the final word. “Are some risks simply unacceptable, even if there are countervailing benefits?” she asks. Since infectious diseases don't respect national boundaries and NSABB’s recommendations will only affect the United States, Wolf would like to see a global policy discussion. 

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Associate Director of Research  –  View job description