Resident Research Fellows
The GES Center is very proud to announce the recipients of our 2014 -2015 Faculty Resident Fellows. Each faculty resident fellow receives a $20,000 stipend to do multidisciplinary creative and innovative research that has a broad impact on societal challenges and opportunities related to genetic engineering. All of the chosen research fellows submitted proposals that were ambitious but feasible with a worthwhile deliverable to interested stakeholders.
Dr. Rajade Berry-James
Cultural Attitudes Toward Genetically Modified (GM) Foods
Previous research on attitudes toward genetically modified (GM) foods has shown that consumer skepticism continues despite scientific claims that GM foods are safe to eat. In faith-based communities, very little research has been conducted to explain cultural attitudes and opinions regarding GM foods. By soliciting focus group participants in Wake County (NC), this pilot project explores cultural attitudes as well as consumer preferences and religious acceptance of GM foods.
Dr. David Berube
Synthetic Biology and the iGEM and DIYBIO Communities
Synthetic biology is controversial for many reasons not the least of which is governance. Building bacteria and viruses that have not evolved on the planet beckons issues of ownership, accidental release from incompetence, deliberate efforts, and industrial release as a waste or byproduct, and misuse by amateurs or terrorists. Whether we adopt stewardship grounded prudence and precaution, public engagement will be needed.
Dr. Andrew Binder
Public Opinion of Genetic Engineering: A Meta-Synthesis, Emperical Meta-Analysis, and Extension
Despite much recent attention paid to public perceptions of emerging technologies in the social sciences, insights from individual studies are often limited in terms of scope, theory, and methodology. As one consequence of these limitations, the research community lacks an up-to-date, interdisciplinary synthesis of published research on public opinion of genetic engineering technologies. There are two main reasons why I have chosen to undertake an updated overview of this research. First, published work in this area has increased dramatically in the past decade. A preliminary Web of Science search reveals that, of the 102 articles specifically addressing “genetic technology” and “public opinion”, a majority of these (79) were published since 2004. An updated synthesis of research on this topic is sorely needed. Second, an overview of public opinion of genetic technology will provide a roadmap for scholars associated with the GES program.
Dr. Jane Hoppin
Structured Literature Review of the Potential Human Health Effects from Producers to Consumers
This project will be to conduct a formal review of the peer-reviewed literature regarding the potential human health effects of GMO foods. Prior to conducting the review, a formal analysis of potential exposure pathways for both producers and consumers will be evaluated. Related exposures will also be considered such as the potential reduction in diesel exposure or increased use of Roundup. Dr. Hoppin and her students will review the toxicological and epidemiological literature and prepare both a review manuscript for publication in peer-reviewed literature and a lay summary for distribution through the GES Center.
The GES Center is happy to have Dr. Matthew Booker head the History of Genetic Engineering project. Dr. Booker is an Associate Professor in History at NC State. As a part of the project, he and his team will be interviewing people who had an impact on the science or policy of genetic engineering.
Collecting a History of Genetic Engineering and Society
Genetic engineering is at an important crossroads. The first generation of researchers and regulators are in many cases still actively working. But the clock is ticking to capture the memories and papers of these pioneering practitioners while they are still willing and able to share. At the same time a second and third generation of scientists, regulators, marketers, students, and advocates for and against the technology are now active and interested in that history. In the absence of archives, observers will create their own stories unhindered by fact. Gathering original words and memories is a matter of urgency.
Under the leadership of Dr. Matthew Booker, the GES Center at NC State intends to bring together the first generation of genetic engineering practitioners and to archive its story for posterity. The program founders know many of the founding generation. The faculty have institutional support from NC State University and the GES Faculty and staff in the GES Center are committed to this project.
Over the coming years we will bring major figures in the scientific, regulatory and advocacy communities shaping genetic engineering to NC State for public talks. In addition to key scientists, we intend to invite a wide diversity of people in the genetic engineering community, including basic scientists, biotech developers, regulators, policy makers, NGO workers, social scientists, and industry people, among others.
The GES Center was pleased to host Dr. Russell Powell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Boston University, during Fall 2014. The Center is currently hosting two additional scholars, Dr. Kaiming Guan from the Wuhan University of Science and Technology and Dr. Joseph Herkert, a professor of Ethics and Technology from Arizona State University.