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

White tailed deer doe and fawn

Osterholm Raises the Alarm on 'Zombie Deer'

February 15, 2019

In testimony last week before Minnesota legislators, Michael T. Osterholm expressed concern about the public health implications of chronic wasting disease (CWD), which is currently found in deer, elk and moose in 24 states, according to the Huffington Post. CWD is a "progressive, fatal disease that affects the brain, spinal cord and other tissues of animals. . . . The symptoms, which have been compared to those of zombies, may include drastic weight loss, stumbling, lack of coordination, listlessness [and] drooling." Osterholm warns, "It is probable that human cases of CWD associated with the consumption of contaminated meat will be documented in the years ahead." Studies from the Centers for Disease Control are exploring the likelihood of that method of transmission. Prof. Osterholm is Director of the Center for Infectious Disease and Research Prevention (CIDRAP), a Consortium member. He will be acting as commentator for the Feb. 28 lecture/webcast by Michael Imperiale, "The Perils of Science to Create Pathogens: Controlling Biosafety and Biosecurity Threats." Learn more and register for the event here

Amy Kircher

University Launches SPARC Research Collaborative

February 12, 2019

The University of Minnesota has created a new resource for faculty and staff who want to pursue research but need additional support. The Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) is made up of an interdisciplinary team with a proven track record of successful grants. They offer insights into writing proposals, putting together teams, and reviewing grant applications to maximize their likelihood of success. SPARC is led by Katey Pelican, PhD, DVM, Principle Investigator of the USAID One Health Workforce Project, and Amy Kircher (left), DrPH, Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Consortium member. The SPARC innovation hub is designed to provide expertise and infrastructure to members of the University community and outside partners who want to pursue large and complex research projects. Learn more here.  

Gears with words like Law+rules

Petrie-Flom Presents "Consuming Genetics" Conference May 17

February 8, 2019

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics  at Harvard Law School will be holding a conference on “Consuming Genetics: The Ethical and Legal Considerations of Consumer Genetic Technologies.” The event is May 17, and will feature two speakers who are part of the LawSeqSM working group, Barbara J. Evans, JD, PhD, LLM (University of Houston Law Center) and Gary Marchant, JD, PhD, MPP (Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Arizona State University). Both Evans and Marchant will be participating in the April 25 LawSeqSM conference/webcast being presented at the University of Minnesota, as will Henry T. Greely, JD (Stanford University), who helped plan the Petrie-Flom conference. The LawSeqSM conference is part of an NIH-funded project to analyze current US federal and state law and regulation on translational genomics and to generate consensus guidance on what the law should be. Learn more about the LawSeqSM conference here

U of Minnesota logo

Research Ethics Week Starts One Month From Today!

February 4, 2019

On March 4, 2019, the University of Minnesota will kick off its second annual Research Ethics Week. This is an opportunity for the entire campus to focus on professional development and best practices to promote, maintain, and model high standards of ethics and integrity in research. Several events are planned, including the annual Research Ethics Conference; this year's topic is Major Changes in Research Rules & Oversight: Making Progress or Creating New Problems? The conference is free, open to the public, and will be webcast. Learn more and register here

Upcoming Events

Consortium Updates

Terry, Yee Illuminate Opportunities, Challenges of Citizen-Driven Research

​On Jan. 29, Sharon F. Terry​, MA​ (Genetic Alliance)​ and Douglas Yee, MD (Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota)​ engaged in a lively conversation about the promises and pitfalls of research that's driven by citizen scientists and patient advocates. The wide-ranging discussion touched on Terry's own path to conducting research because her children's rare disease diagnosis. She's gone on to establish infrastructure and provide guidance for others who want more ownership of the research process and operate outside of traditional scientific channels. Dr. Yee added his perspective as a cancer researcher and clinician. The event was moderated by Susan M. Wolf, JD, Consortium Chair. Video of the webcast will be posted soon; to receive notification when it's available, please email