TBIO 558: Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Society
Since 2002, Beth N. Peshkin, Associate Professor and Education Director of the Fisher Center, has directed and taught this graduate course. The course is Socratic in nature and is based on interactive discussions addressing contemporary and controversial topics in genetics and ethics. Graduate students from various disciplines are encouraged and welcome to enroll - a strong science background is not required. Prior students have included those from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute (GPPI), School of Medicine, Tumor Biology Program, Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy Master's program, and other programs.
Undergraduates may also enroll with permission of the instructor. Please contact Ms. Peshkin for more information.
**This course will be offered again in the Spring 2014 semester.**
Course Syllabus (draft for Spring 2013)
Course Objectives: This course uses a concept-oriented, ethics-based framework to analyze and address dilemmas raised by genetic information and technologies. Students will utilize multiple resources for background and discussion, including websites, scientific and patient literature, and popular press items. Applications of genetic technologies to consumers, patients, researchers, policy makers, and society at large will be explored. The crux of the course will incorporate interactive discussions of issues and case vignettes to enable the student:
• To assess the implications of the Human Genome Project and recent advances in genomic testing with respect to medical, ethical, legal, policy, and social issues
• To utilize genetic paradigms in congenital, childhood and adult onset diseases; predictive testing; screening; and complex traits as the basis for exploring these issues
• To examine new trends in direct-to-consumer marketing of genetic testing and the potential utility of “personalized medicine”
• To analyze contemporary and controversial issues in genetics based on scientific findings, ethical principles, and case examples and to articulate persuasive opinions arguments about such issues orally and in writing
• To critically evaluate media coverage of current issues in human genetics
• To consider the impact of genomic advances in your personal and professional life