Forging the Future of Genomics Policy
Discoveries in the fields of genomics and health sciences happen at an extremely rapid pace. Experts in those fields believe there is a need for a strong and co-ordinated policy, rather than reactive, ad-hoc policies every time a new discovery occurs. For these policies to be useable, they must be developed with an understanding of the science behind them.
As Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine, Dr. Bartha Maria Knoppers is tackling several research projects that cover emerging areas of scientific endeavour: reproductive genetics, pediatrics, biobanks (biological sample storage facilities), privacy and personalized medicine. Her goal is to examine ethical and legal issues in these fields and assist in defining national and international policies that will guide industry, research and government conduct.
To carry out her research, Knoppers will undertake an international comparative analysis of laws, policies and guidelines, and participate in the creation of an international consortium on policy-making. She will share her knowledge through the development of the international HumGen database, which provides access to international, regional and national normative texts and guidelines on genetic research. The database acts as a guide for the international scientific and policy-making community.
Knoppers hopes her research will raise public interest in the ethical, legal and social issues related to genomics and biotechnologies.