New DNA technologies such as Next Generation Sequencing and CRISPR/Cas have profound impact on society. Soon whole genome sequencing will be available for everyone, will it be possible to read the complete DNA sequence of an unborn child from the blood of a pregnant woman and perhaps genetic diseases can be repaired, even before birth.
In this seminar I will explore how these developments impact you as a person: being a scientist, a citizen, a family member or a future parent. Can you oversee the choices you might be confronted with in the future? And what is your role as a scientist in preparing other people to cope with these choices? As an example, I will share with you my results of a commercial DNA-test and I will tell you how this experience impacted me. With this seminar I hope to inspire you to think about the role and responsibility that experts like you, have towards society.
Marc van Mil, PhD
Marc van Mil is associate professor biomedical education at University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands. In his current work he focusses on the ethical and societal implications of biomedical innovations, both in his teaching and in his educational research.
Marc graduated in 2005 cum laude for his Master’s degree Biotechnology (Wageningen) in which he combined his interest in molecular and cellular biotechnology with a specialization in science communication and education. From 2005 to 2008 Marc worked for the Cancer Genomics Centre (CGC) at the University Medical Centre Utrecht on several educational and outreach projects. He designed and set-up one of the ‘DNA labs on the road' called 'Read the language of the tumor'. In this project, students in the Biomedical Science program of Utrecht University take laboratory equipment into secondary schools to teach about cancer research. In 2013 Marc finished his PhD thesis entitled ‘Learning and teaching the molecular basis of life’ and since then he works on educational innovations in the Biomedical Sciences Bachelors’ program in the University Medical Centre Utrecht.
In 2017 Marc was awarded “Higher Education Teacher of the Year” in the Netherlands. The jury praised his efforts to make students aware of the societal impact of biomedical innovations. They applauded his efforts to engage the public in the scientific developments in biomedicine and to raise awareness of the impact of new technologies such as CRISPR/Cas and Next Generation Sequencing. Marc gave many public lectures and participated in talk shows, science festivals, children’s TV-shows and YouTube-clips see e.g.: