We’re Open Today
10:00am to 5:00pm

Exploring Ethics

In conjunction with the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology, the Fleet Science Center welcomes guests to encounter science from an ethical viewpoint. Held on the first Wednesday of the month, from October through June, this ongoing series brings the public and scientists together to explore how science and technology can best serve society. Through forums, projects and resources, the Ethics Center gives stakeholders an opportunity to share perspectives on the ethical implications of new developments in science and technology. Each event includes an opportunity for the audience to share thoughts and questions with guest speakers. The Exploring Ethics forums welcome anyone who is open to learning new ideas and listening to viewpoints that are different from their own.

Events are currently held online.


Upcoming Events:


FEBRUARY 3

Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.

​Cost: FREE

Register for the VIRTUAL event here

The Antibiotic Resistance Crisis

The steady and alarming rise in antibiotic resistance poses one of the greatest challenges to public health and modern medicine, and has been further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The antibiotic resistance crisis is particularly devastating in many of poorest countries of the developing world, as well as hospitals and long-term care facilities in wealthier nations, where such infections strike vulnerable patients with weak immune systems or chronic diseases. The roots of our current dilemma are multifactorial. Overzealous use of antibiotics in both clinical and agricultural settings, the departure of major pharmaceutical companies from antibiotic development (viewed as unprofitable), and simple Darwinian evolution of microbes exposed to life-or-death selective pressures each contribute profoundly. Can we, through public awareness, changes in medical practice, and scientific innovation, lift ourselves out of the hole that we have dug? Many ethical dilemmas must be acknowledged and confronted, such as balancing restrictions on individual liberty for the protection of the public health and the wellbeing of future generations. We must also consider just and sustainable use of this precious resource tailored to the markedly differing economic and epidemiological situations across the globe with diverse health systems and variable antibiotic markets.’

Speaker Bio:

Victor Nizet, M.D.,

Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair for Basic Research in the Department of Pediatrics, Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Chief of the Division of Host-Microbe Systems & Therapeutics at UC San Diego. Dr. Nizet is a graduate of Reed College, received his medical training at Stanford University School of Medicine, completed a Residency and Chief Residency in Pediatrics at Harvard University's Children's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and a then a Fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington’s Children's Hospital in Seattle. Dr. Nizet leads a basic and translational research laboratory focused on discovering virulence factors of invasive bacterial pathogens, elucidating mechanisms of host innate immunity, and novel approaches to infectious disease therapy. He is a faculty lead for the initiative for the UCSD Collaborative to Halt Antibiotic-Resistant Microbes (CHARM) which debuted in 2019. Dr. Nizet has authored over 470 peer-reviewed publications and has collaborated with several biotechnology interests in developing new antibiotic and immune-based therapies against drug-resistant pathogens. Dr. Nizet's work has been recognized by UCSD Chancellor’s Associate’s Award for Excellence in Research in Science and Engineering, the E. Mead Johnson Award for Research in Pediatrics, and election to the American Society for Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, and American Academy of Microbiology. Details of his research program can be found on the laboratory website: http://nizetlab.ucsd.edu

Webinar Instructions 

Webinar Link: https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/99620488960
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If the above link does not work, please using the following link and input the meeting ID.
https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If you do not have the Zoom Client application installed on your computer or device, please click the “Having issues with Zoom Client? Join from Your Browser” link at the bottom of the page.

Please email info@ethicscenter.net if you have any questions.

 


MARCH 3

Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.

​Cost: FREE

Register for the VIRTUAL event here

When the Drug is Alive: Treating Superbug infections with Bacteriophage Therapy

Researchers are exploring the exciting possibility that electrical stimulation of nerve cells of brain and spinal cord could aid in tumor resections, monitor epilepsy, bypass spinal cord injury to cure paralysis, as well as treat other diseases of the nervous system and beyond. Bioelectronic neuromodulation devices are evolving as the gold standard and are projected to impact the lives of millions of people. At UC San Diego, collaborations across engineering and medicine aim to bring the latest technological advances to patient care. This talk will cover the development and clinical translation of UCSD’s multi-thousand channel microelectrode arrays to map the human brain and spinal cord. The talk will provide a perspective on global efforts in neuromodulation devices and summarize lessons learned in the technological, medical, and regulatory fronts.

Speaker Bio:

Shadi Dayeh, PhD,

Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California San Diego, Integrated Electronics and Bio-Interfaces Lab.

Shadi Dayeh received his B.S. in Physics/Electronics from the Lebanese University in Beirut, Lebanon in 2001 and PhD in Electrical Engineering from UC San Diego in 2008. He was a Distinguished J. R. Oppenheimer Postdoctoral Fellow at Los Alamos National Laboratory where he co-led and expanded LANL’s nanowire program before joining the ECE faculty at UC San Diego in November 2012 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted in 2016 to Associate Professor and in 2019 to Professor. His lab specializes in electronic material growth and devices and the utility of material and device advances to probe biological processes from cellular scales to whole intact organs. Shadi’s work in electronic materials earned a number of best paper awards in many conferences beginning at the Electronic Materials Conference in 2006 and most recently the 2018 best paper award at the Compound Semiconductor Week. He was awarded the 2018 Young Scientist Award from the International Symposium on Compound Semiconductors which is given once per year to acknowledge significant achievements in the field of compound semiconductors by a scientist younger than 40 years. After joining UCSD, Shadi’s research pivoted to translational neurotechnologies supported by UCSD’s center for brain activity mapping, an NSF early CAREER Award, a scalable nanomanufacturing award from the NSF, and the 2019 NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. Shadi has led the development of the UCSD multi-thousand channel grids that have revealed microscopic functional units of the human brain and spinal cord.

Webinar Instructions 

Webinar Link: https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/99620488960
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If the above link does not work, please using the following link and input the meeting ID.
https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If you do not have the Zoom Client application installed on your computer or device, please click the “Having issues with Zoom Client? Join from Your Browser” link at the bottom of the page.

Please email info@ethicscenter.net if you have any questions.


MAY 5

Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.

​Cost: FREE

Register for the VIRTUAL event here

Precision genomics and immunotherapy: Cancer and beyond

Breakthroughs in genomics and targeted therapies are revolutionizing the practice of clinical oncology. Precision genomics and immunotherapy offer promise to improve outcomes in cancer, but doing so means we need to move beyond historical models for cancer diagnosis and treatment. In this program we will discuss insights from this rapidly changing field and address some of the ethical challenges that must be met if we are to transform the lives of patients with cancer.

Speaker Bio:

Razelle Kurzrock, MD

Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Associate Director, Clinical Science, Director, Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy, Leader, Experimental Therapeutics, Director, Rare Tumor Clinic University of California, San Diego, Moores Cancer Center 

 

 

Webinar Instructions 

Webinar Link: https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/99620488960
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If the above link does not work, please using the following link and input the meeting ID.
https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If you do not have the Zoom Client application installed on your computer or device, please click the “Having issues with Zoom Client? Join from Your Browser” link at the bottom of the page.

Please email info@ethicscenter.net if you have any questions.


JUNE 2

Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.

​Cost: FREE

Register for the VIRTUAL event here

Are some research study populations “Hard-to-reach”?

Despite the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion in health research, too many investigators face challenges in recruiting diverse study participants. Using current examples, we will highlight some of those challenges and the implications for interpreting and applying results. This presentation will also explore how community-engaged research can address these deficits and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in health research.

Speaker Bio:

Jessie Nodora, PhD

Associate Professor in the UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health & Human Longevity Science and a member of the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center and Director of Community Engagement with the UC San Diego Altman Clinical and Translational Research Institute.

 

 

Webinar Instructions 

Webinar Link: https://ucsd.zoom.us/j/99620488960
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If the above link does not work, please using the following link and input the meeting ID.
https://zoom.us/join
Meeting ID: 99620488960

If you do not have the Zoom Client application installed on your computer or device, please click the “Having issues with Zoom Client? Join from Your Browser” link at the bottom of the page.

Please email info@ethicscenter.net if you have any questions.


Past Topics

View videos of past lectures here.

COVID-19 Vaccine Clinical Trials: Who will participate and who will benefit?
Dr. Little will provide an overview of the scope of COVID-19 vaccine trials, including in the San Diego region. Despite unprecedented efforts to limit spread, the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The US Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense responded with a massive effort – called Operation Warp Speed – to accelerate the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. A series of large vaccine trials are both underway and planned to evaluate candidate vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19. UC San Diego Health will participate in these trials, which will assess the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of vaccines designed to protect against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A primary goal of the vaccine trials will be to protect those who experience greater rates of disease and worse outcomes: older adults, people with underlying medical conditions, and people from some racial and ethnic groups. Unfortunately, many of these groups have historical reason to distrust the medical community and deserve assurance that once an effective vaccine is available their communities will have priority for distribution of the vaccine.

Interests of Society or Rights of Individuals? Promises and Challenges of Social Media and Big Data
Social media and big data can have important practical applications in public health, disaster management, transportation, and urban planning. Data scientists are using machine learning algorithms, computer vision, and natural language processing to collect and analyze social media data (such as Facebook and YouTube) and environmental sensor/camera data to study human communications and movements. These big data technologies can be powerful tools to predict short-term future events, such as flu outbreaks, severe air pollution, traffic congestion, the weather, and patterns of disaster evacuation. At the same time, these technologies monitor users’ digital footprints, opinions and geolocations. Join us to discuss challenges in social media analytics, including data noise and biases, fake news, and data privacy.

Speaker bio:How bad are E-cigarettes?
E-cigarettes have become popular and widely used so fast that the safety testing on them is practically non-existent. While researchers rush to define the toxicities and potential health effects of e-cigarettes, should we be advising everyone against these nicotine delivery devices? Or should we try to be positive and hopeful, in case e-cigarettes have fewer adverse health effects relative to conventional tobacco cigarettes, and thus advise current smokers to switch to e-cigs as a harm reduction strategy? Beyond that, what are the risks of the different e-cig flavors and types of devices? Is vaping caffeine and THC more or less dangerous than vaping nicotine? What are the specific dangers of e-cig use for children, teenagers and young adults? 

Your Genetic Privacy in the Big Data Era
In the United States, privacy is considered a fundamental right. Yet today our activities are followed to a degree unfathomable not long ago by way of cell phones, online behaviors, and more. As genomic technologies continue to expand, another avenue now exists by which we may potentially be scrutinized: DNA sequence. Our genetic information contains our most private details, but we leave it everywhere and share the sequence closely with dozens or even hundreds of relatives. In this talk we will discuss ways in which our DNA may “escape” from our control, what can actually be done with the sequence, and whether there is cause for concern.

If Researchers Find A Tumor, Should They Tell You?
Research imaging studies, including MRI and CT scans, may provide different information than the imaging performed for clinical care. For instance, a liver MRI using research sequences could be more sensitive at detecting tumors than a standard study. As a result, a patient might no longer qualify for surgery according to the research study. However, information derived from research sequences may not be clinically accurate. Hence the need to conduct a thorough investigation and compare against a gold standard (e.g. a surgical result). Should patients and physicians be made aware of research results if they are not verifiably accurate?

What is in the air we breathe?
The atmosphere is composed of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide. Other gases are present at much lower concentrations and include ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and formaldehyde, just to name a few. Besides these gases, there is something else in the air we breathe: tiny microscopic particles called aerosols. This talk will focus on any liquid or solid particles that are suspended in the air, which is the definition of an aerosol. These tiny particles come from many sources (not just the aerosol that comes from spray cans) and can impact the Earth’s climate and human health in ways we are just starting to understand. In this talk, we'll explore the air we breathe in both indoor and outdoor environments, focusing on some of the newest research findings that have been recently published.

Emerging Ethics Challenges for Experimental Social Science
New experimental and big data research have generated unexpected ethical challenges for social scientists. Historically, these disciplines have been largely observational involving the passive collection of existing information and data. More recently, social scientists have embraced experimental methods to study a wide variety of social, policy, and political questions. This experimental revolution has created a new set of ethical problems and a backlash against social science experiments. Especially challenging are the popular field experiments - experiments conducted on a massive scale, without any informed consent, often affecting larger societies or systems. For example, scientists might send surreptitious political advertisements and affect an election outcome. We will examine the new issues, examine the perspective of subjects and societies, and discuss the way social scientists are working to build new norms of research.

How is your heart doing? Just look!
Recent developments in medical imaging, especially modern CT scanner, now make it possible to make extremely accurate pictures of the human heart in less than one heartbeat.  This non-invasive, non-expensive imaging method can produce an accurate picture of cardiovascular health.  Heart disease kills more people each year than any other disease.  We are presented with an interesting problem for medicine: should we all look to see how our own heart is doing? Is it beneficial to us?  Can we afford to do this?  Many countries are now addressing this question in order to establish their new national health policies.

Re-constructing brains in the lab to revolutionize neuroscience
Cerebral organoids, also known as mini-brains, are tridimensional self-organized structures derived from stem cells that resemble the early stages of the human embryonic brain. This new tool allows researchers to explore fundamental neurodevelopmental steps otherwise inaccessible in utero experimentally. Dr. Muotri will explain how mini brains are generated in his lab and how this strategy can create novel therapeutical insights on neurogenetic disorders, such as autism. He will also describe the use of mini-brains to explore the uniqueness of the human brain compared to other extinct species, such as the Neanderthals. Limitations and ethical concerns surrounding this exciting technology will be discussed.

My Brain Made Me Buy It? The Neuroethics of Advertising
The consumer neuroscience industry is entering its second decade and continuing to grow thanks to increased acceptance by advertisers looking to better understand consumers’ preferences and decision making. However, more questions and concerns are being raised as advertising techniques challenge social and ethical boundaries. Dr. Carl Marci, Chief Neuroscientist at Nielsen, will address the ethical concerns related to consumer neuroscience including issues around privacy, informed consent, and consumer autonomy in decision making. Drs. Read Montague, Tech Carilion Research Institute, and Uma Karmarkar, University of California, San Diego, will further discuss the ethical concerns surrounding attempts to predict consumer behavior.

Ethical Boundaries of Research with Human Embryos
Since stem cells were first cultured from human embryos in 1998, the ethical considerations surrounding this technology have been widely debated, leading to establishment of specific limits on how this research is conducted and funded.  However, not all important scientific advances over the past twenty years have been fully addressed in this initial ethical framework.  Some of these advances include: 1) the ability to generate, from skin cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which closely resemble stem cells derived from an embryo; 2) the establishment of methods that enable culture of human embryos in the dish up to the current 2-week limit; 3) the ability to generate 3-parent human embryos by somatic cell nuclear transfer or mitochondrial replacement therapy, allowing reversal of devastating diseases caused by mitochondrial gene mutations; and 4) the derivation of placental stem cells from human embryos. Join us for this program to learn more about these scientific advances, to discuss the implications of these discoveries for improvement for human health, and to consider how ethical norms can best be integrated into research and practice.

-->