‘Triple Academies’ symposium will wrestle with genetics in the digital age

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In conjunction with regional meetings of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) will host a symposium on “Privacy, Autonomy, and Personal Genetic Information” on Tuesday, April 14, from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

Held at the American Academy in Cambridge, Mass., the meeting is open to members of the NAE, IOM, the American Academy, and invited guests and the media. The general public will be able to view a free video of the symposium online following the event.

The symposium features two interactive discussions among experts in medicine, genetics, law, and public policy. The first panel, moderated by Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of Harvard Medical School, will explore how “crowdsourcing” genetic research could spur advances in medicine and technology; it will also elucidate issues that arise when researchers, drug companies, and government agencies attempt to use genomic data for financial and intellectual gain.

The second panel, moderated by Jonathan Zittrain, a faculty member with appointments at Harvard Law School, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and SEAS, will ask what role doctors should play in providing and interpreting genetic data, and how that might affect a citizen’s right to access his or her own personal information unhindered by authorities.

IOM President Harvey V. Fineberg, NAE President Charles M. Vest, and Harvard’s Cherry A. Murray will also participate in a panel discussion sponsored by the American Academy, Making America More Competitive, Innovative, and Healthy,” following the symposium and beginning at 6 p.m.

  • Members of the media who wish to attend the symposium should RSVP to Michael Patrick Rutter at or 617.496.3815.
  • Members of the media who wish to attend the panel discussion, Making America More Competitive, Innovative, and Healthy, should contact Paul Karoff at or 617.576.5043.

Complete information about the event is available online.