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Gene Editing: Are We Moving Too Fast?

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Hart House

7 Hart House Circle

Toronto, ON M5S 3H3

Canada

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*(Please note that this event will be recorded for external purposes. Guests may be asked to sign media release waivers. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.)

In 2017, Josiah Zayner injected himself with DNA in front of a live audience, stating that it would "modify muscle genes" to give him bigger muscles.
He has since made headlines for pushing the boundaries of do-it-yourself genetic experimentation.
With the rise of gene-editing technology (CRISPR/Cas9) the pace of innovation in genetic engineering has reached new heights. Cures for incurable diseases all seem within reach, but the rise of gene-editing for "enhancement" purposes rather than simply medical treatment raises important ethical questions. Are we moving too fast?
In this event, we bring together geneticists, entrepreneurs, and advocates, all with different perspectives on the dizzying potential and terrifying power of gene-editing. Join us as we explore the increasing accessibility of gene-editing, the role of private companies in its development, and the ethics surrounding human trials and CRISPR's use in enhancement rather than simply medical treatment.
This event will take place Tuesday, October 30th in the Hart House Debates Room from 7PM-9PM. Please note that the dialogue will not require technical knowledge on genetics and is designed to be accessible for all backgrounds.


== SPEAKERS ==


Dr. Josiah Zayner | CEO of The Odin
Dr. Josiah Zayner is a CEO who is constantly pushing the boundaries of Science outside traditional environments including human and animal genetic engineering. After he received his Ph.D. from University of Chicago, he worked at NASA's Synthetic Biology program, genetically engineering bacteria to help terraform Mars. He left NASA to found The ODIN, a company that makes genetic engineering available to consumers at home.

Dr. Karen Maxwell | University of Toronto
Dr. Karen Maxwell is an assistant professor in the biochemistry department at the University of Toronto, and runs her own research lab, the Maxwell Lab. After obtaining her Ph.D. from the U of T in 2001, Karen completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Ontario Centre for Structural Genomics at the University Health Network in Toronto. Her research includes work on phage-based bacterial diagnostics, phage-derived solutions to disease, and inhibitors of CRISPR/Cas9

Dr. Kevin Esvelt | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kevin M. Esvelt was the first to realize that CRISPR “gene drive” systems could unilaterally alter wild populations of organisms, Esvelt and his colleagues defied scientific tradition by revealing their findings and calling for open discussion and safeguards before they demonstrated the technology in the laboratory. He is an outspoken advocate of sharing research plans to accelerate discovery and improve research safety. His work has appeared in major scientific journals, including Nature and Science, and features regularly in popular media, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and NPR.

Samantha Yammine (Moderator) | University of Toronto
Samantha Yammine is a Science Communicator and PhD Candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Her research in Dr. Derek van der Kooy’s laboratory focuses on how stem cells build and maintain the brain. Samantha shares daily updates of her research on Instagram as @science.sam through short videos, descriptive captions, engaging pictures, and livestreams. She is passionate about making science more familiar, accessible, and inclusive through digital media. You can find her at heysciencesam.com.


== TICKETS ==

Please note that in order to guarantee your spot, you must arrive by 6:45PM. Doors open at 6:30PM. If you have any accessibility requests or comments, please contact Marco.adamovic@utoronto.ca.

For all media inquiries and general questions, please contact hhddc.communications@utoronto.ca or message our Facebook Page.
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Hart House

7 Hart House Circle

Toronto, ON M5S 3H3

Canada

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