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Dartmouth Stem Cell Summit on Sept. 26 brings together students and international experts to discuss science, ethics and policy

Dartmouth College Office of Public Affairs • Press Release
Posted 09/25/06 • Steven J. Smith • (603) 646-3661

Students will join international experts to discuss embryonic stem cell research at the "Dartmouth Stem Cell Summit: Convergence of Science, Ethics, and Policy," on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 4:30 p.m. in the Kellogg Auditorium. The experts are John Gearhart, professor at Johns Hopkins University and one of two initial developers of human embryonic stem cells; Bernard Siegel, a past presenter on stem cell research to the United Nations and director of the Genetics Policy Institute; and Ronald M. Green, director of Dartmouth's Ethics Institute.

"Whether you're for, against, or undecided on the issue of stem cell research, the intent is to inform the public and educate about the science, ethics, and policy..."

- Laura Myers

The panel is organized by junior Laura Myers, founder of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research (SSSCR). Myers, a proponent of stem cell research, says the goal of the summit, and the society, is education. "Whether you're for, against, or undecided on the issue of stem cell research, the intent is to inform the public and educate about the science, ethics, and policy," she says. "I think the more informed we are about the issues, the better we are at forming our own opinions, especially when we're faced with tough ethical issues."

Myers says she first decided to do something when she was studying hematopoietic stem cells at Maryland's National Institutes of Health during a research internship. "Dartmouth students are passionate and eager to get involved in new things," she notes, and when she returned to campus, her idea to start a campus chapter of the National Society for Stem Cell Research resonated with others. Tyler Roth '08, who helped establish the group, says he's intrigued by the interdisciplinary aspects of the topic. "It pulls in questions about ethics, philosophy, religion, biology, and society, to name just a few," Roth says. "It's a great way to tie everything together and to break it apart at the same time."

Member Kristine Specht '09 says, "This touches so many medical issues-transplants, genetic diseases, regeneration, cancer treatment, Alzheimer's disease, Multiple Sclerosis. It's not a stretch to say that everyone on the Dartmouth campus knows at least one person who could benefit from advancements in these areas." Paul Therattil '08, the secretary of the society, says he's been interested in stem cells since his Introduction to Cell Biology course. "As a genetics major, stem cells have been touched upon in nearly every biology class I've taken at Dartmouth, so it felt only too right to become involved with the SSSCR."

"These students have shown great initiative, putting together a mini-conference that, among other things, features John Gearhart," says Green. "This is the kind of energy and leadership that I like to think of as the goal of a Dartmouth education." Acting Dean of the College Dan Nelson '75 agrees. "Their work is an example of learning and collaboration at its best," he says.  

For more information, contact Laura Myers at 603-646-6261.

Dartmouth has television (satellite uplink) and radio (ISDN) studios available for domestic and international live and taped interviews. For more information, call 603-646-3661 or see our Radio, Television capability webpage.

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