The UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute collaborates with social scientists and ethicists to address the bioethical and privacy issues that advances in genomics create for patients, families, physicians, counselors, business, and government.
The institute’s bioscience and society research will focus in two areas: social bioinformatics and genomics, difference, and justice.
New challenges are emerging as the biomedical ethos of privacy and protection meets the ethos of openness forged by leaders of the Human Genome Project. Further, recent efforts to introduce social media approaches to knowledge production and individual empowerment have potential implications in the realm of biomedicine. Research in this area will map how these forms of enclosure and openness may challenge important and historically entrenched biomedical practices of consent, property, and privacy.
Genomics, difference, and justice
Next-generation genomic research offers new modes of representing and understanding biological differences. This research will address how this new understanding is changing our conceptions of both natural and social order, how new understandings and representations of difference articulate to a contemporary concern with justice, and how genomic sciences fits in a world where resources are becoming scarcer for most living beings. This area of research builds on Jenny Reardon’s internationally recognized research in the area of race, difference, and genomics, and could help guide the institute’s efforts to realize a genomics that truly attends to and cares for people.