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“Genomics, Human Behavior, and Social Outcomes”: A Discussion for Journalists


Oct 12, 2021 12:43 PM

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Erik Parens
Senior Research Scholar @The Hastings Center
At The Hastings Center, Erik Parens explores how sciences, such as genetics and neuroscience, shape our understanding of ourselves. He also explores the ethical questions that arise as we use technologies, such as gene editing, surgery, and psychopharmacology, to shape ourselves. Those two lines of inquiry begin to come together in his 2015 book Shaping Our Selves: On Technology, Flourishing, and a Habit of Thinking.
Melinda Mills
Nuffield Professor of Sociology @University of Oxford
Melinda Mills (MBE, FBA) is Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science (LCDS), University of Oxford. Her research spans multiple topics in demography, empirical sociology, statistics and genetics. Her recent work focuses on sociogenomics, combining a social science and molecular genetic approach to the study of behavioural outcomes, with a focus on reproduction (fertility), chronotype, nonstandard, precarious employment and assortative mating. Other interests include behavioural approaches to health interventions, including behavioural and policy responses to face coverings and vaccine deployment.
Amy Harmon
Journalist @The New York Times
Amy Harmon is a national correspondent for The New York Times, covering the intersection of science and society. She has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for her series The DNA Age, and as part of a team for the series “How Race Is Lived in America.”
Arbel Harpak
Assistant Professor of Population Health and Integrative Biology @University of Texas @ Austin
Arbel Harpak, a population geneticist leading a research group at UT Austin, studies the evolutionary processes that shape human genetic variation and how it maps to trait variation. His recent focus has been on polygenic scores, genetic predictors of a person’s risk for disease or propensity for a trait. Harpak and his colleagues' findings highlight underappreciated obstacles to the interpretation of polygenic scores and their applications in the clinic, social science, policy and beyond.