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.
Members of the Minnesota COVID Ethics Collaborative (MCEC) and key partners in the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) have published a new article in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on the development of an ethical framework for Minnesota’s allocation of remdesivir, an experimental drug used to treat COVID-19. The authors illuminate the “real-time” bioethics process used to cope with urgent need, resource scarcity, and a still-emerging evidence base. The article can help other states and agencies determine how to allocate remdesivir. MCEC is co-led by Profs. Debra DeBruin at the University’s Center for Bioethics and Susan M. Wolf at the Consortium.
In an article on “Stolen Breaths” in the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor Rachel Hardeman and co-authors powerfully argue that “for the health of the black community and, in turn, the health of the nation, we address the social, economic, political, legal, educational, and health care systems that maintain structural racism.” The authors recommend five practices for health care systems to implement. Professor Hardeman is a faculty member in the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and an Affiliate Faculty Member in the Center for Bioethics, a Consortium Member Center. To read the article, see the New England Journal of Medicine website.