In an interview with National Public Radio, Dr. Margaret Hamburg discussed the FDA approval of convalescent plasma as a potential treatment option for COVID-19. Dr. Hamburg was the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration for six years and recently retired as foreign secretary for the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Hamburg will appear with other experts for “COVID Vaccine Research & Deployment: Reconciling Speed & Safety,” this Friday, August 28. Register now to attend.
A new grant from the Neuroethics Division of the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will bring together national experts in neuroethics, neurolaw, and neuroscience to produce ethics recommendations for the use of breakthrough Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology that is highly portable and cloud-enabled. This new technology will allow neuroimaging research in underrepresented populations and diverse field settings. This 4-year project based at the Consortium on Law and Values will use empirical and analytic methods to devise guidance on ethical challenges including informed consent, data privacy, and return of results. The project’s principal investigators are Profs. Francis Shen, JD, PhD; Susan M. Wolf, JD; and Frances Lawrenz, PhD. Read more: Highly Portable and Cloud-Enabled Neuroimaging Research: Confronting Ethics Challenges in Field Research with New Populations.
The University of Minnesota Institute for Engineering in Medicine has received a new $26 million National Science Foundation grant to establish a new Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Advanced Technologies for the Preservation of Biological Systems (ATP-Bio). ATP-Bio research projects will put ethics and public policy at the forefront by conducting and publishing ethical analyses, augmenting standard review, and engaging policy leaders to anticipate and consider the impacts of ATP-Bio research. Professor Susan Wolf, chair of the U’s Consortium on Law and Values, will lead the Ethics & Public Policy component of ATP-Bio; she will also serve on the ATP-Bio Executive Committee. She will work with faculty at the University of Minnesota and the cooperating ATP-Bio institutions (Massachusetts General Hospital, UC Riverside, and UC Berkeley) as well as an Ethics Advisory Panel. Read more here.
Join the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a free virtual workshop on how research universities can face COVID challenges and other major issues. On Tuesday, July 21 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, the Academies will present “Reopening U.S. Research Universities: Confronting Long-Standing Challenges and Imagining Novel Solutions.” Speakers include the presidents of the National Academies and leaders from government and academia. Prof. Susan Wolf will moderate a session on “Trustworthiness of the Research Enterprise: Challenges to Research Integrity and Public Trust,” featuring Christine Grady, RN, PhD, Chief of Bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center, and Holden Thorp, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Science. Prof. Wolf is a member of the Academies committee presenting the workshop and Chair of the Consortium. For the workshop agenda and registration, visit the workshop website.
Researchers from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the Genomics Center are studying whether COVID-19 levels in sewage can provide actionable insights into viral spread. As COVID-19 patients typically begin “shedding” the virus before experiencing symptoms, testing sewage may allow researchers and policy makers to address new outbreaks more quickly. One project, led by Prof. Glenn E. Simmons, Jr., at the University of Minnesota Medical School in Duluth analyzes raw sewage for virus levels. Dr. Simmons is a CTSI Pre-K Discovery Scholar. The Genomics Center is studying whether testing solids that settle out of wastewater can provide useful data. CTSI and the Genomics Center are Consortium member centers. Read more about the work here.
On June 26, the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at NIH celebrated the 20th anniversary of a milestone in genomics. On that date in 2000, then-President Clinton announced the release of a working draft sequence of the human genome in a White House ceremony. In the years since then, the Consortium has collaborated on multiple projects to address ethical, legal, and societal issues related to genomics. Examples include LawSeqSM, an NIH-funded research project that led to the creation of a database of federal and state laws on genomics, the Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative, and research on return of genomic results and incidental findings to study participants.