On Friday, Nov. 5 from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., MSOE will host Human Applications of Genetic Technologies, a World Bioethics Day Event presented and sponsored by the MSOE Unit of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics (University of Haifa, Israel). The application of genetic technologies has profound ethical implications. Examples of such applications include:

  • editing the genes of crops to make them more nutritious
  • combatting genetic diseases
  • developing new antibiotics and antiviral drugs
  • genetically modifying mosquitoes to prevent malaria
  • enhancing the human genome, and perhaps most controversially
  • selecting the genes of human embryos to create so-called “designer babies.”

Given the prospective impact of these applications on individuals and society, it is essential that we reflect on their implications now. In recent years, we have seen rapid advances in new genetic technologies. In particular, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), can be used to modify DNA in ways that are cheaper, faster, and more efficient than previous techniques. Described by Harvard’s Science in the News site as “a game-changing genetic engineering technique,” CRISPR and similar genetic technologies, have generated great enthusiasm within both the scientific community and the popular press, but there are also concerns.

This interactive event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Human Applications of Genetic Technologies will take place in MSOE's Dwight and Dian Diercks Computational Science Hall, 1025 N. Milwaukee St. Masks are required indoors at MSOE. The event will be simulcast online. Registrants will receive login information upon completing their registration.

This interactive event brings together a distinguished group of researchers to address important implications of these technologies and others. Attendees will be invited to submit questions during the Q&A period following the talks and panel discussion.


Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 

(All sessions will be in-person in Diercks Hall and broadcast live via Microsoft Teams Live Events.) 

Please register in advance.

  • 8:45–9:00 a.m. (CST): Opening Remarks
  • 9:00–9:50 a.m. (CST): Genetic Technological Advances of Today and Tomorrow: Breaking Down the Biology
  • 10:00–10:50 a.m. (CST): What is the Value of Reproductive Applications of CRISPR?
      • Tina Rulli, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Philosophy Department, University of California-Davis
  • 11:00–11:50 a.m. (CST): Keynote Address: Moral Progress in the 21st Century and the Perils of Moral Bioenhancement
      • Fabrice Jotterand, Ph.D., Professor of Bioethics and Medical Humanities; Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, Medical College of Wisconsin
  • 1:00–3:00 pm (CST): Panel Discussion: An extended discussion with our three speakers (D. Munzenmaier; T. Rulli; and F. Jotterand) and two additional panelists:
      • Frank Cabrera, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Humanities, Social Science, and Communication Department, Milwaukee School of Engineering
      • Megan Fritts, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department, The College of St. Scholastica