Join us this September for the next installment of Existential Medicine, on the provocative topic of gene modification. As a continuation of our first CRISPR conversation in March, we will dig deeper into the understanding of what gene modification is all about, discuss the ethical boundaries of disease and disability in a gene-edited world, and explore the shifting definitions of disease itself as the potential for an edited humanity accelerates.

6:30 PM Doors Open
7:00 PM Program Begins
Light bites and drinks to follow

Moderated by:

Dan Seewald, Founder and CEO at Deliberate Innovation and designer of the Deliberate Innovation System™, which combines design thinking and creative problem solving methods with high-performance coaching. Dan is also the Former Head of Pfizer’s World Wide Innovation group where he designed and led the Dare to Try program, one of the Fortune 100’s leading design thinking and strategic innovation programs.  Dan is a recognized speaker and author in the field of applied creativity and corporate innovation and regularly contributes for multiple journals, including: Innovation Leader and People Science.

With special guests:

S. Matthew Liao is Arthur Zitrin Chair of Bioethics, Director of the Center for Bioethics, Professor of Global Public Health, and Affiliated Professor in the Department of Philosophy at New York University.  He is the author/editor of a forthcoming volume entitled Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (Oxford University Press), and four other books, The Right to Be Loved (Oxford University Press), Moral Brains: The Neuroscience of Morality (Oxford University Press), The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (Oxford University Press), and Current Controversies in Bioethics (Routledge), and over 60 articles in philosophy and bioethics.  He has given TED and TEDx talks in New York and CERN, Switzerland, and he has been featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Guardian, the BBC, Harper’s Magazine, Sydney Morning Herald, Scientific American and other media outlets.

TJ Cradick, PhD, serves as Head of Genome Editing at CRISPR Therapeutics, where they are developing and optimizing transformative cures using CRISPR/Cas9. CRISPR/Cas nucleases have been the focus since 2012, with prior studies on TAL Effector Nucleases (TALENs), and Zinc Finger Nucleases (ZFNs). Many of these studies in academia and industry included measuring and improving gene editing activity and specificity. Dr. Cradick has also co-authored manuscripts detailing gene editing bioinformatics web tools: ZFN-Site, PROGNOS, SAPTA and COSMID (for possible CRISPR target identification).

Joana Vidigal, PhD, is a Stadtman tenure-track investigator at NCI and NIH Distinguished scholar since 2018. Her ultimate goal is to build upon the expertise and tools she has developed to explore how deregulation of RNA pathways affects mammal physiology and impacts human disease in order to have actionable knowledge that can be used to design better strategies for screening, prevention, and treatment of human diseases. Dr. Vigidal completed her doctorate at the Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin where she gained extensive expertise in mammalian development and mouse genetics. Later on, as a postdoctoral researcher in the Ventura lab at MSKCC, she became well versed in cancer biology and the use of mouse models of human cancer to understand tumor initiation and progression. During this time she leveraged her knowledge of mammalian biology and her expertise in mouse genetics to stringently define the physiological roles of noncoding RNAs in animal development, homeostasis and disease. With the goal of accelerating the functional dissection of genes in mammals she also developed a number of CRISPR tools to perform large-scale loss-of-function genetic screens.

Alejandro (Alex) Chavez, M.D., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology at Columbia University. He did his M.D., Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, his residency in Clinical Pathology at
Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) and his postdoctoral studies in the labs of Drs. George M. Church and James. J. Collins at the Wyss Institute at Harvard University. Alex’s laboratory employs Cas9-based tools for the programmable control of DNA and RNA on genome-wide scales. His lab has generated methods that endow Cas9 with single nucleotide specificity and that enable facile genome modification, activation, or repression, both alone and in any desired combination.