Nobel Conference 53

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

All sessions will be live streamed and archived
8:30 a.m.

Doors Open

9 a.m.

Musical Prelude - Gustavus Wind Orchestra

9:30 a.m.

Academic Procession and Opening Ceremony

Welcome, Rebecca M. Bergman, President of the College
Nobel Conference 53 Introduction to the Big Questions and Themes, Yurie Hong, 2017 Nobel Conference Chair

10 a.m.

Lecture, Panel Discussion, and Audience Q & A

Lecture by Ruha Benjamin, PhD
Rethinking Reproduction, Re-imagining Technology

Dr. Benjamin’s 30-minute talk will propose a justice-oriented approach to reproductive technologies. The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with the Conference speakers and audience questions.

Ruha Benjamin is an associate professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University and 2016-17 fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study. She is the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier, as well as numerous articles and book chapters that examine the social dimensions of biotechnology.

11:30 a.m.


12:45 p.m.

Musical Prelude - Gustavus Wind Symphony

1 p.m.

Lecture by Jacob Corn, PhD
CRISPR Gene Editing

Dr. Corn’s talk will discuss the CRISPR/Cas9 technique to edit the genome of human embryos, and the reasons he has chosen to refrain from such applications for the present.

Corn is the scientific director of the Innovative Genomics Initiative. His laboratory, which includes branches at UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, conducts core basic research on the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technique. Corn has also conducted pioneering work using CRISPR/Cas9 to treat diseases such as sickle cell anemia, an illustration of the priority he places upon the clinical implementations of this basic research. He has written on limiting the use of CRISPR/Cas9 in the human germline until we can better delineate safe and ethical parameters for its use.

1:45 p.m.

Lecture by Marsha Saxton, PhD
Disability Rights Meets DNA Research

Dr. Saxton’s lecture will provide a disability studies perspectives on prenatal genetic testing.

Saxton is the director of research and training at the World Institute on Disability and also an instructor in disability studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She has written three books, two films, and more than one hundred articles and book chapters about disability rights, personal assistance, women's health, employment, violence prevention, and genetic screening issues. She has written extensively on the topic of disability rights and selective abortion.


2:30 p.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

The panel of Conference speakers will discuss the two preceding lectures and questions gathered from the audience.

4 p.m.


6 p.m.

Art at the Nobel Conference Opening Reception

Hillstrom Museum of Art, Jackson Campus Center, Reception
No ticket required

6:30 p.m.

To Fertility and Beyond with the Theatre of Public Policy

An exploration of personal, practitioner, and policy issues related to fertility featuring Colleen Casey, MD,Reproductive Endocrinologist / Fertility Specialist, Center for Reproductive Medicine and Debra DeBruin, Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota and the Theater of Public Policy troupe. The Theater of Public Policy advances the understanding of complex ideas and issues by drawing on improvisational comedy;
Featuring: Colleen Casey, MD,Reproductive Endocrinologist / Fertility Specialist, Center for Reproductive Medicine and Debra DeBruin, Associate Professor, Center for Bioethics, University of Minnesota ;
and the Theater of Public Policy troupe

Lund Arena
No ticket required

8 p.m.

Music at the Nobel Conference

Bjorling Recital Hall

What reproductive technologies do composers employ when creating a piece of music? What are the devices and processes that take a small initial musical thought to a fully developed composition? This year’s Nobel Concert sounds out these questions in the works of three composers, representing different eras and genres. A Musical Offering by J. S. Bach; a string quartet, Lady Isabelle Was That Kind of Woman, by Gustavus faculty Alexandra Bryant, and T42, an arrangement for jazz combo by Gustavus faculty Dave Stamps.

Performances feature members of the Gustavus music faculty.

No ticket required

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

All sessions will be live streamed and archived
Time Event
8:30 a.m.

Doors Open

9:15 a.m.

Music Prelude - Gustavus Symphony Orchestra

9:30 a.m.

Lecture by Alison Murdoch, MD
Reproductive Technology Regulation in the UK: 40-Year Review

Dr. Murdoch’s lecture will address pre-implantation embryo research and mitochondrial transfer, concentrating on the ethical and regulatory processes that impact such research in the UK.

Murdoch is a professor of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University and qualified as a gynaecologist and fertility clinician. She founded Newcastle Fertility Centre within Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust. The team has a longstanding successful history of embryo-based research. Murdoch’s main role has related to the social and ethical implications of the work and management of the regulatory aspect of getting research approval. She is one of the first people in the world to have been granted approval to clone human embryos for the purpose of research. More recently, Murdoch is a part of the team of researchers who have been at the forefront of developing IVF technology to prevent transmission of mitochondrial disease. She is past Chair of the British Fertility Society and past member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

10:15 a.m.

Lecture by Diana Blithe, PhD
Prospects and Pipeline for Male Contraception

Dr. Blithe will report on the current state of research on male contraceptives, funding structures, and United States governmental oversight.

Blithe is the program director for the Male Contraceptive Development Program at the National Institutes of Health. As the co-director of the Contraceptive Clinical Trials Network, she oversees clinical trials to evaluate the safety and efficacy of new contraceptive agents for men and women. Blithe’s work as a program director has given her a perspective on crucial questions about why and how particular contraceptive research gets funded. Blithe’s scientific expertise includes biochemistry, endocrinology, and glycobiology.

11 a.m.

Panel Discussion and Audience Q & A

12 p.m.


1:15 p.m.

Music Prelude - Gustavus Jazz Ensemble

1:30 p.m.

Lecture by Charis Thompson, PhD and Audience Q & A

The End of the World As We Know it? Human Technology Futures in a Time of Automation, Augmentation, and Deselection

Dr. Thompson will address the history and future of reproductive technologies and their impact on society.

Thompson is the Chancellor's Professor and chair of Gender & Women's Studies, and director of the Chau Hoi Shuen Program in Gender & Science at the University of California, Berkeley. A bioethicist, her current work on stem cell research emerged from earlier research on reproductive technologies, which was the subject of her book Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies. She is the also the author of Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research.

2:30 p.m.


2:45 p.m.

Closing Plenary: Future Challenges, Future Questions in Reproductive Technology 

What’s next for reproductive technologies and the big unanswered questions? Hear closing thoughts from the Conference presenters about the future challenges and possibilities.

6 p.m.

Nobel Banquet Doors Open

Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union

6:30 p.m.

Nobel Banquet and Closing Lecture

Alumni Hall, O.J. Johnson Student Union
Banquet ticket required

7:30 p.m.

Closing Lecture by Jad Abumrad
Reproductive Technology and the Radiolab Podcast

Mr. Abumrad will share insights from Radiolab episodes on reproductive technology, the importance of science literacy, and how science is embedded in human experience as part of larger philosophical inquiries about life.

Abumrad is the founder, producer, and co-host of Radiolab, a program and podcast on National Public Radio. Radiolab describes itself as “a show about curiosity. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience.” Abumrad is the recipient of a 2011 MacArthur grant for his work creating Radiolab. He is also a composer and musician.

Lecture will be live streamed in the Campus Center Banquet Rooms