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Translating Science: Genomics and Health Systems

Competition III
Genome Centre(s):
Genome Alberta
Project Leader(s):
Timothy Caulfield (University of Alberta), Edna Einsiedel (University of Calgary)
Fiscal Year Project Launched: 
Project Description: 

This is a stand-alone GE3LS project.

The genomes of humans and many other animals, plants and microorganisms have been sequenced in recent years. But a huge task remains: finding ways to translate genomic knowledge into applications that improve human health.

Timothy Caulfield, Research Director of the University of Alberta’s Health Law Institute, and Edna Einsiedel, Professor of Communication and Culture at the University of Calgary, are project leaders of Translating Science: Genomics and Health Systems.

The project aims to understand how genomic technologies are translated and used in health systems, what social, ethical and legal challenges arise from such processes, and what approaches may be taken to deal with these challenges.

According to the project leaders, the project will focus on three interrelated issues. Patents and other forms of intellectual property rights have created challenges for the application and use of genomic innovations, whether by public health delivery systems, disadvantaged communities in developing countries, or indigenous communities.

Society’s ability to develop and use genomic knowledge is shaped by the diverse perspectives of individuals and groups about risks, benefits and ethical challenges associated with genomics technologies. And finally the uptake of genomic technologies into health systems has important implications for governance – for the way decisions are made, who participates, whose interests and what criteria are taken into account, and how decision-makers are ultimately held accountable.

Translating Science: Genomics and Health Systems is expected to enhance our understanding of how genomic information may lead the way to improved human health.