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Jennifer Kuzma – Oxitec’s Mosquito and Future Gene Drives (at Duke University)

October 22, 2018 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT

Duke University Civil & Environmental Engineering | Fall 2018 Seminar Series

Oxitec’s Mosquito and Future Gene Drives: 
Challenges with Risk Analysis and Governance


In this presentation, I will discuss the current risk assessment and oversight challenges using the case of an engineered mosquito designed to kill its wild population and reduce disease transmission. These mosquitos give us a window into the complexities associated with risk analysis for future organisms released with gene drives. Gene drives are designed to spread genes throughout wild populations, and we are finding that current risk assessment and governance approaches are challenged by this technology. After reviewing the mosquito case, I will talk more generally about how we can adapt existing risk assessment frameworks for organisms containing gene drives to better account for the complexities, uncertainties, and policy and public contexts. With the emergence of these GMOs designed to spread in ecosystems, it will become increasingly important for regulatory agencies and technology developers to bolster their risk analysis methods and processes prior to field testing. I will end with a new principle-based framework, Procedurally-Robust Risk Analysis Framework (PRRAF), as a flexible guide for doing so within a variety of legal, regulatory, and governance contexts.


Ruby Nell Carpenter, 919-660-5200,

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October 22, 2018
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Ruby Nell Carpenter


Duke Fitzpatrick Center
135 Science Drive
Durham, NC 27705 United States
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Archives: Pre-2017 Events

October 2016Kongming Wu: Genetically Engineered Crops in China
October 2016Presentation: Kuzma J. Hubris or Humility in the Regulatory Assessment of Gene Drives?
Gene Editing: Life and Law Beyond the Human
SUNY-Buffalo, NSF-funded workshop
October 21-22, 2016.
October 2016Presentation: Kuzma, J. Gene Editing and Emerging Issues
Agree Initiative
Meridian Institute, DC. October 10, 2016.
October 2016Presentation: Kuzma, J. Governance for Engineered Pests in Historical and Systems Contexts
Keynote for OECD Workshop on Environmental Release of Engineered Pests: Building an International Governance Framework
Raleigh, NC October 6, 2016.
September 2016The GES Center hosted a Building with Biology event on September 19th. Read a report on the event. Download PDF
September 2016Nick Storer from Dow Agro gave a talk titled “Implementing resistance management for insect-protected genetically-engineered crops: a balancing act” on September 12th.
September 2016The GES Center hosted a Building with Biology event on September 19th that featured fun synbio activities.
September 2016Presentation: Delborne J. Institute for Science, Society and Policy Panel Series
Challenges of Governing Advances in Gene Editing
Ottawa, Canada, September 28, 2016
Watch Online
September 2016Presentation: Kuzma, J. Innovation in Governance
North Carolina Agricultural Biotechnology Summit
September 27, 2016
September 2016Presentation: Kuzma, J. Anticipatory governance of gene drives.
International Congress of Entomology.
Orlando, FL, September 26, 2016.
August 2016Scott Johnson spoke on agriculture biotech business activity on August 30th.
August 2016On August 22nd Jeff Powell (Yale University) gave a talk titled, ‘Evolutionary Genetics and Vector Biology: Aedes aegypti, the yellow fever mosquito.’ Aedes aegypti is the mosquito that has been associated with transmission of Zika virus. Jeff has been involved in studies of Aedes aegypti in the Florida Keys where there are proposed releases of transgenic Aedes.
May – June 2016Over the summer, NCSU held a Biolunch Seminar series, in which graduates and post-docs pursuing bio-related research made 15 minute presentations on Wednesdays of each week. Biolunch had thirteen meetings between May 16th and August 10th. It received funding this year through the NC State Office of Research, Innovation and Economic Development (ORIED) to bring in invited outside speakers and provide food during sessions.
May – June 2016Dr. Paul Thomas from the University of Adelaide visited on June 9th and gave a presentaion titled Modifying the Mouse Genome Using CRISPR/CAS9 for Disease Modelling and Pest Control. Dr. Thomas is Director of the South Australia Genome Editing Facility at the University of Adelaide is using genome modification to address problems in health research including neurodevelopmental disorders. He is also interested in innovative approaches to controlling rodent pests using genome editing
April 2016Genetic Engineering and You: GE Day 2016 – This event included activities and seminars in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and a visit from Timothy Caulfield, a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, and Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta.
April 2016Katharine Hayhoe– Facts Are Not Enough: Why Does a Climate Scientist Care about a Faith Based Response to the Impacts of Climate Change?
April 2016The Science of Belief with Keynote Speaker Dr. Aaron Kay
April 2016George Hess: Killing for Conversation
April 2016Presentation: Berube D. HPU Presidential Lecture Series on Global Leadership and Sustainability.
Emerging Technologies, Energy, and Public Engagement
Hawaii Pacific University, April 18, 2016.
April 2016Presentation: Kuzma J. and Vogel K. Massachusetts Society for Medical Research
THREE Is Conference
Chapel Hill, NC. April 14, 2016.
March 2016Heike Sederoff:”Redesigning Carbon Dioxide Assimilation in Plants”
March 2016Karl Campbell “A Collaborative Project to Evaluate the Potential for Genetically Engineered Mice in Island Restoration.”
March 2016Jack Bobo, Intrexon Corporation: Can Agriculture Save the Planet Before it Destroys It?
March 2016Laura Privalle: Ag Biotech Crops – Are they worth the hype – a Retrospective
March 2016The Science of Shale Gas/Oil: The Latest Evidence on Leaky Wells and Methane Emissions, and Implications for Energy Policy
March 2016Jose Ragas: Fingerprints for the Revolution: Biometrics, “Captahuellas,” and Resistance in Venezuela
March 2016The Story Behind The Story With Award-Winning NY Times Journalist Gina Kolata
March 2016Molly Hartzog, Thesis defense:Inventing Mosquitoes: Digital Organisms as Rhetorical Boundary Objects in Genetic Pest Management for Dengue and Malaria Control
March 2016Open Science Unconference
March 2016Nick Haddad: The critical role of advocacy and lobbying for faculty and students in our program
March 2016Emerging Plant Disease and Global Food Security Symposium
February 2016Todd Kuiken: Our Collective Biology: Enabling public science to build an ecosystem of makers in biology
February 2016Minorities in STEM: Empowering the Next Generation Distinguished speaker, Freeman A. Hrabowski, President, UMBC led a conversation on race, STEM education, and academic success. Colloquium: The politics of transgenic organisms in Europe and the prospects of GM insects. Speakers Javier Lezaun and Christian de Koning, members of The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at Oxford.
February 2016Erin Brockovich – What does environmental justice really look like? Screening of the film Erin Brokovich and a conversation with experts in law and the environment.
February 2016The Global Eradication of Malaria. Ms. Deborah Derrick, President of Friends of the Global Fight Against Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, shared two decades worth of insight on the eradication of malaria through international and developmental policy.
February 2016Innovations in Plant Breeding Symposium
February 2016Jen Baltzegar and Nicole Gutzmann, NCSU IGERT Fellows, led a discussion of a recent article by Nathanael Johnson titled WTF IS A GMO? It’s practically impossible to define “GMOs”
February 2016Gregor Wolbring: From precision knowledge to precision genetic interventions: Role of and impact on disabled people University of Calgary Past
February 2016Periodic Tables: A World Without Chocolate? With Lloyd Timberlake
February 2016S&S Roundtable: An Underwhelming Overhaul? The Proposed Changes to Rules for Human Subjects Research. With Dr. Jessica D Tenenbaum
February 2016Presentation: Kuzma J. NCSU Jefferson Scholars.
Raleigh, NC. February 8, 2016
January 2016Colloquium – Craig Yencho: Sweet Potato Breeding for Developing Countries: Craig and NCSU received $12.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve sweet potato as an important food staple in sub-Saharan Africa – the sweet potato. The grant is funding work to develop modern genomic, genetic and bioinformatics tools to improve the crop’s ability to resist diseases and insects and tolerate drought and heat.
January 2016Plant Phenotyping at North Carolina Biotechnology Center
January 2016To Test or Not To Test: Ethical Decision-Making & Genetic Diseases. Dr. Jeff Carroll discussed the challenges and ethical questions around patient autonomy, genetic testing, and the search for a cure for Huntington’s Disease, a dominant, fatal, neurodegenerative disease.
January 2016Evolution – Why Should You Care? Evolution is considered the foundation for the study of life, yet polls suggest only 1 out of 5 Americans accept it as fact. Professor Mohamed Noor discussed evolution, the evidence for it, what it means for humanity, and how it can affect our health.
January 2016Colloquium – Joe Herkert: Ethics Education in Science and Engineering. Joe’s presentation gave a brief overview of some contemporary issues in teaching engineering ethics and in engineering ethics research. In particular, the presentation focused on developments in macroethics and the unique challenges of emerging technologies (including synthetic biology). Ongoing improvements to the National Academy of Engineering’s Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science ( was also be discussed.
January 2016GMOs and the Future of the Global Food Supply and Medical Innovations. Jennifer Kuzma, and Robert T. Fraley, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Monsanto, discussed the risks and benefits associated with GMO science.
January 2016Presentation: Kuzma J. CATO Institute. GMOs and the Future of the Global Food Supply and Medical Innovations.
Washington, DC. January 20, 2016
December 2015On December 17, the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is held a Science Spelling Bee as part of its Thursday Night Science Cafe Program.
December 2015John Burness, visiting professor of the Practice in the Sanford School of Public Policy, discussed how we can create a more informed future at the Science and Society Roundtable – Missed Information: Public Distrust of Science on December 3rd.
December 2015Pints of Science is finished out the fall semester with New York Times bestselling author and research scientist in the Department of Evolutionary Anthropology at Duke University, Vanessa Woods. Her talk was entitled “How Domesticated Are You? What Dogs, Bonobos, and Bigfoot Can Tell You About Yourself.”
December 2015Science Comedian Brian Malow hosted Periodic Tables: Rational Comedy for an Irrational Planet, an informal science gathering during which invited speakers share interesting, relevant science to the general public in an engaging and interactive way.
December 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Is regulatory harmonization desirable for gene edited animals?
National Academy of Sciences, A Workshop of the Roundtable on Science and Welfare in Laboratory Animal Use Gene Editing to Modify Animal Genomes for Research – Scientific and Ethical Considerations. Washington, DC. December 7-8, 2015.
December 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Mental models & systems mapping for risk analysis of gene drives.
Society for Risk Analysis Annual Meeting.
Washington, DC. Dec 7-10, 2015.
October 2015History Project speaker Greg Jaffe presented a talk called Busting the Myths About Genetically Engineered Foods on October 5th. This talk cut through the rhetoric espoused by proponents and opponents of GE crops and provide the facts surrounding the current GE crops grown in the United States. Jaffe brought the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s unique science-based consumer perspective to this topic in a way that was informative and relevant to academics at NC State as well as everyday consumers.
October 2015Wendell Wallach from Yale University’s Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics presented a talk that shared its self-explanatory title with his latest book, A Dangerous Master: How to Keep Technology from Slipping Beyond Our Control.
October 2015Dr. Paul Thompson, W.K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Food and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, gave a talk called Social Amplification of GMO Risks. Thompson is the author of 13 books and editions and has served on many national and international committees on agricultural biotechnology.
October 2015NC State’s School of International Affairs had a PopMED seminar titled Genetic Engineering: A new Phase of Policy Perception led by Jennifer Kuzma.
October 2015Pam Marrone, CEO and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations, gave a talk called Enhancing Pest Management Programs Through Integration of Biological Pesticides on October 26th.
October 2015Jennifer Kuzma made a presentation atthe Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions’ tenth anniversary forum “Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Envisioning Solutions to Environmental Challenges.”
October 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Designing a Regulatory System that Adapts to Emerging Risks, Technologies
Leadership in a Time of Rapid Change: Envisioning Solutions to Environmental Challenges.
Duke University Nicholas School 10th Anniversary Forum. October 22, 2015.

Professor Kuzma spoke at the 10th Anniversary workshop of the Nicholas School on the Environment at Duke University on October 22nd on Designing a Regulatory System that Adapts to Emerging Risks, Technologies. In the audience were former, high-level government officials, like the 1st administrator of EPA, company executives, and academics from all over the United States and abroad. Her talk explored principles for the design of more dyanmic and adpative oversight systems for second generation genetic engineering technologies like gene drives and gene editing.
October 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. and JP Roberts Transformation or Adaptation: Active Nanomaterials and Risk Governance.
Workshop paper for “Next Generation Nano Governance.”
American Chemical Society, CNS-ASU, and Notre Dame NSF funded workshop. Washington DC October 9, 2015

Professor Kuzma spoke at a National Science Foundation-sponsored and invited,workshop in Washington DC on Oct. 9th, presenting a key paper on challenges for risk analysis from active nano-bio materials, such has delivery of RNA to regulate genes in nanoparticles and self-assembling DNA-based nanostructures, which was co-authored by Ph.D. Public Administration student John Patrick Roberts. Policy and regulatory decision makers from NSF, NIH, and EPA were in attendance, along with stakeholder groups from NGOs, think-tanks, and industry. The four invited papers are in review for a special edition of the Journal of Nanoparticle Research to appear in 2016.
October 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Genetic Engineering: A New Phase of Policy and Perception.
Population Medicine Seminar.
Vet School, NCSU/UNC/Duke. October 5, 2015.
August 2015On Sunday, August 30th the GES faculty facilitated a Building with Biology event at Durham’s Museum of Life and Science which featured activites aimed at teaching the public about synthetic biology.
August 2015On Monday, August 31st Eric Sachs, the Environmental, Social and Economic Platform Lead for Monsanto company, kicked off the History Project’s Fall 2015 season. His talk was titled Moving Beyond the GMO Controversy: What To Do When Science Isn’t Enough?
July 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. A Delphi Study: Risk Data and Governance Needs for Environmental Applications of Synthetic Biology.
World Congress on Risk 2015.
Singapore. July 19-22.
June 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. No Hands at the Wheel? Gene Drives, Genetic Engineering, and Society.
Duke University,Periodic Tables.
Durham’s Science Café, June 25, 2015.
June 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Risk and Media.
Biotechnology Literacy Project Boot camp.
Academics Review, U of FL, and Genetic Literacy Project workshop. University of CA-Davis. May 31-June 3, 2015.
May 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Intergenerational Equity, Gene Drives, and Conceptions of Nature.
Governance of Emerging Technologies 3rd Annual Conference.
Arizona State University. May 26-28.
May 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Gene Editing and Governance.
1st Annual Workshop on GE@NC State.
NCSU. April 28, 2015.
May 2015Presentation: Serr, M. Leitschuh, C. Stress,Sex, and Competition: Genetic and Behavioral Comparisons of Wild and Lab Mice.
Auburn University: Hood & Hill Lab Meeting.
April 2015On April 28th, the Genetic Engineering at NC State Symposium brought together leaders who are doing research on genetic engineering on NC State’s campus. They discussed their contributions and where they see the science and policy headed in the future. Speakers included Rodolphe Barriangou, Chase Beise, Zachary Brown, Jason Delborne, Ralph Dewey, Fred Gould, Jennifer Kuzma, Jorge, Piedrahita, Heike Sederoff, Gavin Williams, and Jeff Yoder.
April 2015Dr. Tony Shelton, International Professor in the Department of Entomology and Associate Director of International Programs from Cornell University, gave a public talk called Genetic Engineering in a Land Grant University on April 21st. View it here.
April 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Ethical, Legal, and Regulatory Considerations.
New Genomic Solutions for Conservation Problems Workshop.
Long Now Foundation. Sausalito, CA. April 6-9 2015.
April 2015Presentation: Leitschuh, C. Serr, M. McGraw, L. Godwin, J. Island invaders: How island conditions alter the reproductive dynamics of wild house mice on the Farallon island.
Genetic Engineering Research at NC State Symposium.
April 2015Presentation: Jason Delborne, PhD. Public Attitudes, Perceptions, and Engagement in the Field of Genetic Modification.
Transgenics & Society Symposium.
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March 2015On March 12th and 13th, the GES Center hosted the USDA for a Stakeholder Workshop on Coexistence. Various distinguished names in the industry made presentations, including Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. Vidoes from day one and day two of the workshop are available for viewing.
March 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Anticipatory Governance for Synthetic Biology: A Delphi Study.
GES colloquium, NCSU, March 24, 2015.
March 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Gene Drives: Who’s behind the wheel?
Yale Bioethics Seminar. March 3, 2015.
March 2015Presentation: Booker M. San Francisco Bay’s Edible Past as a Problem for Scientists and Historians.
John Muir Institute of the Environment, UC Davis: Ecology and Evolution Seminar.
March 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. GM Food Safety
Women’s Conference of National Farm Bureau.
March 28, 2015.
February 2015Dr. Ignacio Chapela, Associate Professor from UC Berkeley, best known for a 2001 paper in Nature on the flow of transgenes into wild maize populations and as an outspoken critic of the University of California’s ties to the biotechnology industry, spoke about his experiences on Tuesday, February 24th. Watch the public talk here.
February 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. Ethics and genetically engineered organisms.
Duke Science and Society seminar, Feb. 25, 2015.
February 2015Presentation: Serr, M. Leitschuh, C. McGraw, L. Godwin, J. City mouse meets country mouse: mating of wild and laboratory mouse strains.
W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology.
January 2015Documentary Series: This year, the GES Center partnered with the Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program to host a series of documentary screenings. Films in the series present a variety of views on the subject of genetic engineering and screenings are followed by a discussion lead by a panel of scientists and officials.
January 2015January 29, 2015: Percy Schmeiser: David versus Monsanto with panelists Dr. Keith Edmisten and Dr. Kultaran Chohan.
January 2015March 26, 2015: The Hunt for Life with panelists Dr. Mary Schweitzer and Dr. Russell Powell
January 2015Presentation: Kuzma J. GE Food Safety and Public Perception.
For “Finding Common Ground: The GM Food Labeling Paradox.”
University of MN, January 16, 2015.
January 2015Presentation: Delborne, J. Engaging Publics in Science and Technology.
When Science and Citizens Connect: Public Engagement on Genetically Modified Organisms.
A Workshop of the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences.
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