How the environment gets under our skin | ADI Policy Forum

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Deakin Downtown

Level 12, Tower 2

727 Collins Street

Docklands, VIC 3008

Australia

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Recent research has begun to track down genetic and environmental factors that increase our risk of developing a wide range of chronic disorders, from heart disease and diabetes to autism and schizophrenia. Risk factors include environments that we can each take control of, but also those over which we have zero control. Most importantly, we now know that we are most vulnerable in our first one thousand days, making our first few years vital to ensuring a long and healthy life. This forum will address the policy implications of new fields like epigenetics and microbiomics. Emerging evidence from these fields suggests a wide range of interventions– both personal and political – are needed to support individuals and governments to maximise our health. Detecting and tracking the effects of the environment through biomarkers and biomonitoring offer great advantages (e.g. disease prediction, diagnosis, intervention and tracking) but also pose risks (e.g. stigmatisation, higher insurance premiums). The looming possibilities for gene editing similarly offer enormous potential benefits but also increased risks. The forum will bring together policy experts, scientists and social scientists to debate the promise and pitfalls of the new science of environmental vulnerability.

Our expert panellists will each provide a short background presentation on their area of expertise before opening up to wider discussion and questions from the audience.

Speakers and discussion topics:

  • A/Professor Jeffrey Craig (School of Medicine, Deakin University) - The mechanisms behind the early life origins of disease;
  • A/Professor Maurizio Meloni (Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation (ADI), Deakin University) - The social implications of epigenetics: hope, risks and uncertainties;
  • Dr Evie Kendal (School of Medicine, Deakin University) - Ethical issues in emerging genetic technologies;
  • A/Professor Megan Munsie (Centre for Stem Cell Systems, The University of Melbourne and Head of Engagement, Ethics & Policy Program, Stem Cells Australia initiative) - Engagement, ethics and policy: lessons from Stem Cells Australia.

Moderator: Professor Emma Kowal (ADI, Deakin University)


The Alfred Deakin Institute Policy Forums aim to provide a high profile platform by which the Institute brings together policy makers, researchers and community members for informed debate on important emerging policy issues. They aim to foster informed debate, engage the public and provide research-led input to policy formation at national, State and regional levels.


Audience members who wish to learn more about the issues being discussed at this Policy Forum are encouraged to read the following:

Short blogs:

Longer journal articles:

Date and Time

Location

Deakin Downtown

Level 12, Tower 2

727 Collins Street

Docklands, VIC 3008

Australia

View Map

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