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Dianne Nicol

Project Leader

Director of the Centre for Law and Genetics, The University of Tasmania

Dianne Nicol is the Director of the Centre for Law and Genetics at the University of Tasmania. She is leading two Australian Research Council-funded projects which examine the legal, research and social issues associated with genomic data sharing and the regulation of innovative health technologies including somatic cell genome editing. Dianne’s expertise offers a unique combination of her PhD research in the field of biology and her legal specialisation on patenting of biotechnology inventions. She is a member of the Australian Academy of Law and holds the title of Distinguished Professor.

Dianne’s primary roles in the project involve framing the citizen deliberations with the broader ethical, legal, and social context of genome editing, and articulating the outcomes of the deliberations in various forums.

The Experts

Participants heard from some of the foremost experts on genome editing technologies over the course of four days.

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Rachel Ankeny

Professor Rachel Ankeny is an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar whose areas of expertise cross three fields: food stud­ies, history/philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences, and bioethics and science policy. She is Deputy Dean Research in the Faculty of Arts and Professor in the School of Humanities where she leads the Food Values Research Group and the Pub­lic Engagement in Science and Technology Adelaide (PESTA), all at the University of Adelaide. She has overseen a number of research projects associated with use of participatory tech­niques to elicit community values about emerging technologies particularly in medicine and agriculture.

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Gareth Bynam

Dr. Gareth Bynam is a practising clinical geneticist, genomic policy advisor, clinician scientist and intrapraneur. He equitably translates innovations for public health. He has led the clinical implementation of genomic and phenomic digital health tech­nologies and rare diseases policy. He led the creation of the Rare and Undiagnosed Diseases Diagnostic Service at Genetic Services of Western Australia (GSWA), Gareth directs the Undi­agnosed Diseases Program (UDP) WA and is a founding member of the International Board of Directors of the Undiagnosed Diseases Network International (UDNI). He is Chair of the Diag­nostics Scientific Committee of the International Rare Diseases Research Consortium (IRDiRC), and Chair of the ‘Standards of Practice Workstream’ of the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children with Rare Diseases.

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Merlin Crossley

Professor Merlin Crossley is Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic & Student Life at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney. He has also served as Dean of Science at UNSW and enjoys both teaching and research in molecular biology. His lab works on CRISPR gene editing to treat inherited blood diseases. Crossley completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Melbourne, then was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to carry out his doctorate in Oxford. He moved to a research position at Harvard, before returning to a lectureship at Sydney, and joined UNSW in 2010. Crossley is also an enthusiastic science communicator, Chair of Editorial Board of The Conversation, of UNSW Press, Deputy Director of the Australian Science Media Centre, a member of the Editorial Board of BioEssays, and a member of the Australian Museum Council of Governors.

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Jozef Gécz

Jozef GéczPhD is National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow and Channel 7 Inaugural Chair for the Prevention of ChildhoodDisability at the University of Adelaide and South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide. Professor Gécz career spans 35years of competitive research in genomics and molecular biology of childhood onset neurological disorders across Europe and Australia. Professor Gécz discovered or contributed to the discovery of >250 disease genes. His pioneering research into the genetics of non-syndromic intellectual disabilities and X-chromosome linked forms later expanded into childhood onset epilepsies, autisms and cerebral palsies. His research is patient-centric and focuses on the application of genomics for precision diagnosis of childhood onset neurodevelopmental disabilities to empower early and personalised intervention, management and treatment.

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Christopher Gyngell

Dr. Christopher Gyngell is team leader and Research Fellow in the Biomedical Ethics group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne. The Biomedical Ethics group conducts empirical and philosophical research into the ethical and societal issues raised by medical technologies—particularly focusing on children—including genetic, ART, and surgical technologies. Chris’s research interests lie primarily in the ethical implications of biotechnologies and the philosophy of health and disease. Dr Gyngell was previously a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the University of Oxford, where he led a project titled ‘Selecting, Creating and Modifying Embryos,’ which investigated the ethical and legal implications of the gene-editing technique CRISPR. Chris was awarded his PhD in philosophy from the Australian National University in 2015. Before undertaking his PhD, Chris completed a Master’s degree in applied ethics and an Honours degree in genetics.

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Jackie Leach Scully

Jackie Leach Scully is professor of Bioethics and Director of the Disability Innovation Institute at UNSW. With a background in molecular oncology and neuroscience, she has specialised in ethical issues in biomedicine and the life sciences, and particularly their relevance to people with disability, including prenatal selection, assistive technologies, and global health emergencies. She is currently leading teams looking at the impact of artificial intelligence on disability, and the ethics of genetic testing for people with intellectual disability. Jackie’s work has been recognised through her election as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, of the Royal Society of Arts, of the Royal Society of New South Wales, and of the Hastings Center, and in 2020 she was named as one of Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders.

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Dianne Nicol

Dianne Nicolis the Director of the Centre for Law and Genetics at the University of Tasmania. In addition to leading this project, she is also leading two Australian Research Council-funded projects which examine the legal, research and social issues associated with genomic data sharing and the regulation of innovative health technologies including somatic cell genome editing. Dianne brings a combination of PhD-level research in the field of biology and legal specialisation on the regulation of genomics and related technologies. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of law and Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, and holds the title of Distinguished Professor.

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Megan Munsie

Professor Megan Munsie is a stem cell and developmental biologist who leads a research program into the ethical, legal, and social implications of stem cell research at the University of Melbourne. Over the last 15 years, she has led public education and policy activities for major Australian Government-funded programs in stem cell science. She also heads Stem Cells Australia, an online education initiative that provides clear, reliable information to Australians curious about stem cells and their role in medicine. She serves on advisory committees to peak national and international bodies. In 2018, she was awarded the Public Service Award from the International Society for Stem Cell Research in recognition of her contribution to the field.