The accelerated world of medical research promises new diagnostic tools and treatments for Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer. These advances, however, raise a daunting array of ethical issues.
Enter Bartha Maria Knoppers, the recently appointed director of McGill’s new Centre of Genomics and Policy. Knoppers is a world- renowned bioethicist whose work recently earned her a Distinguished Visiting Scientist Stipend from the Netherlands Genomics Initiative. At the McGill centre, Knoppers leads a research team that tackles issues ranging from stem cell controversies to privacy concerns surrounding our individual genetic and genomic makeup. The aim is to promote good science and responsible research, while educating the public along the way.
The centre is located within the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre, placing it at the heart of the genomic action. “It’s important in the development of policy to be surrounded by the very scientists and fields of science in which you’re working,” says Knoppers.