Invitation to Cover: Managing Cell and Human Identity

Genetic, stem cell, and reproductive technologies that have the capability to fundamentally change our cells is challenging what is means to be human. Correcting underlying mutations to cure human genetic disorders; reprogramming skin cells to other cell types to one day inject back into a person, or manipulating the genes of a sperm cell or egg to eliminate a sex-linked mutation are all current examples of these techniques that spur social, ethical, and moral questions. Leading biologists and bioethicists from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and other institutions, will come together to discuss these topics in a day-long symposium entitled, “Managing Cell and Human Identity.” The IRM is led by Kenneth Zaret, PhD, a professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Perelman School of Medicine . A Perspective in Science magazine published today with the same title considers how our perceptions about human identity may help us decide how and when to use these technologies.


Biomedical Research Building, Perelman School of Medicine, 421 Curie Boulevard, Philadelphia PA, 19104. See here for directions and map. Event is free. See here for more details and to register.


Wednesday, April, 26 8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Breakfast


8:30-9:00 AM Registration and Breakfast

9:00 AM Introductory Remarks
J. Larry Jameson, M.D., Ph.D., Dean of Perelman School of Medicine
Dawn Bonnell, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Research

9:15-9:45 AM Controlling Genes and Cells: The present and future of regeneration technologies
Ken Zaret, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania Joseph Leidy Professor
Director, Institute for Regenerative Medicine

 9:45-10:30 AM  Our Bodies, Our Selves: Theologies and Ethics for Unstable Embodiment
Laurie Zoloth, Ph.D., Northwestern University President of Faculty
Senate Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Religious Studies

10:30-10:45AM  Civic Engagement within the IRM: Lessons learned from the community
Jamie Shuda, Ed.D., Director of IRM Life Science Outreach

10:45-11 AM Coffee Break

11-11:45 AM Why Do We Want to Be Human?
Jonathan Moreno, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
David and Lyn Silfen University Professor

11:45-12:30PM  Discussion Panel

12:30-1:30 PM   Lunch

1:30-2:15 PM More Than Your Genes
Reed Pyeritz, M.D., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania William Smilow Professor of Medicine

2:15-3:00 PM  Evolving Attitudes toward Heritable Genomic Modification
R. Alta Charo, J.D., University of Wisconsin Law School
Warren P. Knowles Professor of Law and Bioethics

3:00-3:15 PM Coffee Break

3:15-4:00 PM How Much Longer Will We Be Human?
John Gearhart, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
James W. Effron University Professor

4:00-4:45 PM      Discussion Panel

4:45-6:00 PM      Reception