Friday 8:45 am – 3:00 pm

Diercks Hall, 1025 N. Milwaukee St., Milwaukee, WI 53202


The application of genetic technologies has profound ethical implications. Examples of such applications include: 1) editing the genes of crops to make them more nutritious, 2) combatting genetic diseases, 3) developing new antibiotics and antiviral drugs, 4) genetically modifying mosquitoes to prevent malaria, 5) enhancing the human genome, and perhaps most controversially, and 6) 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.

Human Applications of Genetic Technologies brings together a distinguished group of researchers to address important implications of these technologies and others. This will be an interactive event. Attendees will be invited to submit questions during the Q&A period following the talks and panel discussion. This event is sponsored by the MSOE Unit of the International Chair in Bioethics (University of Haifa, Israel).

This event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Diercks Hall Auditorium and Atrium on the MSOE Campus. Diercks Hall is located at 1025 North Milwaukee Street in downtown Milwaukee. In accordance with the MSOE’s “Raider Return” plan, all in-person attendees will be required to wear effective face coverings.


Friday, Nov. 5, 2021 

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

  • 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