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HUMAN ENHANCEMENT AND EVOLUTION
Scientific, Technological, Policy & ELS Considerations
CFCUL, Lisbon
13-14th December 2017

Programme

13th December 2017  

  1. Evolution and the Sciences and Technologies of Human Enhancement

Organismal dynamics are such that organisms incontrovertibly affect the very evolutionary pressures that shape them, even if only indirectly. But seemingly, amongst all organisms and perhaps owing to their cognitive evolution, humans became exceptionally fine controllers of both theirs and other organisms’ evolutionary processes. In virtue of the sciences and technologies of human enhancement, more effective exertion of control over evolution is nowadays becoming evident, and this is shown among others by the rise of new technics such as genetic editing tools. However, human enhancement and its broad evolutionary effects are still understudied.

  • 9:30
    Opening of the meeting
    Professor Rui Moreira
    Director of CFCUL

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  • 9:40
    Welcome
    Dr. Alexander Gerner
    CFCUL

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  • 9:50
    Keynote Speech

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    Genetic Inheritance, Future People and Future Worlds
    John Harris
    FMedSci., Member Academia Europaea., FRSA., B.A., D.Phil., Hon.D.Litt., Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester and Visiting Professor in Bioethics, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, School of Global Affairs, King’s College London.

    Advances in medical and other sciences are forcing policy considerations for which many are neither ready nor well informed enough to react. Rapid progress by scientists in developing germline and genome editing technologies have the potential to transform the treatment of genetic conditions and to alter genetic states in two ways that I will address in this lecture:
    1. By so called gene editing, rewriting the DNA code of affected cells, or inserting new cells, synthetic or natural, into the genome.
    2. And the emergence of epigenetics as a source of heritable changes to humans has given a new and scarcely examined dimension to debates on the ethics of genetically modifying human embryos and other tissues to prevent serious diseases.

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  • 10:35
    Discussion

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  • 10:50
    Coffee break

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  • 11:15
    ChairDr. Alexander Gerner
    CFCUL

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    Niche construction and human enhancement
    Byron Kaldis
    Professor of Philosophy, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law School of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences, The National Technical University of Athens

    The talk approaches certain issues in the debate over human enhancement and its connection to evolution from the point of view of the niche construction theory advanced relatively recently within the family of alternative evolutionary theories. It will attempt to throw light on those issues regarding both philosophical and related puzzles and concerns about human enhancement by employing the basic tenets of niche construction theory while presenting the latter as a different path than those usually taken in such contexts. This will further allow combining human enhancement and evolution, the theme of this conference, by bringing in a scientific theory.
    The niche-construction perspective in evolutionary biology opposes the received Darwinian view by placing emphasis on the capacity of organisms to modify their environment. Thus, ‘‘Organisms do not adapt to their environments; they construct them out of the bits and pieces of the external world’’ (see e.g. Lewontin). Therefore organisms co-direct their own evolution. Hence HE cab ne explained as an outcome of NCT.
    The particular issues regarding human enhancement (HE) this talk will specifically approach via niche construction theory (NCT) are:
    (1) In the first instance NCT is put forward as an alternative to two possible pathways along which (cognitively) enhanced humans will be expected to (or reasonably predicted to, given the total singularity of their unforeseeable future state of HE) deal with their collective moral life: two such predictive pathways have been proposed (e.g. by Agar) to which NCT is here presented as an alternative or possible complementary approach, namely (a) contract theory (b) consequentialism.
    (2) Secondly, NCT and its principal tenet of affecting environment through cultural adaptations and human action can be seen to be directly relevant to HE since in the case of HE such a state of affairs (i.e. HE beings affecting the environment) would be greatly accelerated.
    (3) In the third place, at a metatheoretical level, it can be seen that a genuinely scientific argument (NCT) can be employed for vindicating a prominent philosophical thesis regarding the desirability and possibility of transhumanism (e.g. advocated by Bostrom et al) whereby radically improving ourselves is something that can be shown to be desirable on the basis of a philosophical argument the rationale of which rests in turn on a scientific theory.
    (4) Finally, the talk will touch upon a case of higher or exceptional cognitive ability, universally valued as a desirable state of mind, namely human mental creativity or innovative thinking, assessed positively even in the current state of human mentality, a mental ability expected to be greatly enhanced after HE starts materializing.
    One of the striking features of NCT is that it provides a (non-Lamarckian) route by which acquired characteristics can influence the selective environment. This is highly relevant for the case of HE.

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  • 12:00
    Discussion

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  • 12:15
    Selected presentations

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    Chair: Professor Rita Zilhão
    Science Faculty, University of Lisbon

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    Evolution of the Brain Enables the Acquisition of Artificial Senses
    Tayfun Esenkaya Meike Schellera; Alexandra A. de Sousaa; Eamonn O’Neillb; Michael J. Proulx
    Department of Psychology and Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, UK

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    Reticulate evolution and human enhancement
    Nathalie Gontier
    Applied Evolutionary Epistemology Lab, Centre for Philosophy of Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal

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  • 12:55
    Discussion

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  • 13:15
    Lunch Break

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  • 14:30
    Selected presentations

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    ChairDr. Alexander Gerner
    CFCUL

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    Heidegger and the Bioethics of the Human Body
    Morganna Lambeth
    DAAD-Program Student, Freie University, Berlin, Germany

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    Evolution of Perception and Technological Human Enhancement: Will Hacking the Brain Lead the Future of Human Enhancement?
    Meike Schellera; Tayfun Esenkaya; Karin Petrinia; Alexandra A. de Sousa; Michael J. Proulxa (Department of Psychology and Department of Computer Science, University of Bath, UK)

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  • 15:15
    Discussion

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  • 15:30
    Coffee Break

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  • 15:45
    Chair: Octávio Mateus
    FCT/UNL

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    Evolution Driven by Organismal Behavior: A Unifying View of Life, Function, Form, Mismatches, Trends and Human Evolution
    Rui Diogo
    Associate Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and a member of the Resource Faculty at the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at George Washington University.

    In this talk I will propose a new way to think about evolution, and particularly human evolution. I bring together evidence from diverse fields of science, in order to bridge the gaps between many different - and usually seen as conflicting -ideas to present one integrative theory named ONCE, which stands for Organic Nonoptimal Constrained Evolution. I argue that evolution is mainly driven by the behavioral choices and persistence of organisms themselves, in a process in which Darwinian natural selection is mainly a secondary - but still crucial - evolutionary player. Within ONCE, evolution is therefore generally made of mistakes and mismatches and trial-and-error situations, and is not a process where organisms engage in an incessant, suffocating struggle in which they can't thrive if they are not optimally adapted to their habitats and the external environment. Therefore, this unifying view incorporates a more comprehensive view of the diversity and complexity of life by stressing that organisms are not merely passive evolutionary players under the rule of external factors and that altruism and cooperation play a particularly important ole in evolution. Importantly, it also stresses that humans may be stuck with a behavioral drive that might put seriously in danger the life of our species and of other organisms in this planet. This argument is based on numerous fascinating case studies from a wide range of organisms, including bacteria, plants, insects and diverse examples from the evolution of our own species. The subject has therefore an appeal to researchers, students, teachers, and those with an interest in the history and philosophy of science, as well as to the broader public, as it brings life back into biology by emphasizing that organisms, including humans, are the key active players in evolution and thus in the future of life on this wonderful planet.

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  • 16:30
    Discussion

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  • End of day 1

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14th December 2017

  1. Policy & ELSA of Genome Editing and Human Enhancement

Genome editing is a technology with the potential to promote and enhance health, and understand disease. However, as many other disruptive advances in science, it also brings challenges at an ethical, legal, social, and political level, particularly regarding the treatment of hereditary diseases and the integrity of the human germline. The possibilities of genome-editing and its limits and consequences, specifically to therapeutic applications and targeted interventions in ecosystems are being broadly discussed by many. It will be important to contribute to the debate in a critical and transparent way with the participation of scientists, society and policy-makers. This will provide a platform to better assess the benefits and potential risks of the technology to help support the development of sound policies in the future.

  • 9:30
    Welcome
    Dr. Mara Almeida
    CFCUL

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  • 9:45
    Keynote Speech:

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    Law & Policy-making for Gene Editing
    Bartha Knoppers
    Professor and Director of Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    This presentation will explore the ethical, legal and social implications surrounding human gene editing. Gene editing has graced the covers of many journals since 2015, often overemphasizing theoretical risks, such as eugenics and designer babies. Furthermore, an overview of the legal landscape governing gene editing will be presented, including laws that are international, regional and national in scope. This will lead to considerations about the international policy developments that have taken place since 2015 and the similarities and differences that arise. Finally, a summary of recent public attitudes towards gene editing, both somatic and germ line, as well as different applications of the technology (e.g. therapeutic vs. enhancement) will be presented.

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  • 10:30
    Discussion

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  • 10:45
    Coffee break

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  • 11.00
    ChairProfessor Constantino Sakellarides
    ENSP/UNL

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    Risk as a multidisciplinary concept
    Alexandre Quintanilha
    i3S, UPorto, CEIC, President of the Parliamentary Committee of Education and Science

    Estimating risk involves both quantitative and qualitative notions that evolve in time. In the case of human enhancement we have witnessed significant shifts between the role of genetics vs the environment, which have changed significantly with advances in our knowledge.

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    Science & Technology runs; Bioethics walks - extend the gaze, measure the pace, draws limits
    Lucília Nunes
    Vice-President of National Council of Ethics for Life Sciences

    The problem of the relation between ethics and the development of science and technology has, in our view, intensified - which has given rise to reflection on the distance between the two, or the different speeds at which they seem to move, or the different times each one seems to have or need. To frame this, we align ourselves with several concerns related to Genome Editing and Human Enhancement, viewed from Ethical perspective. The notorious running of science and technology asks for a kind of balance with the notions of time, implications and limits, focusing on an ethic of responsibility, reciprocity and solidarity.
    Inevitably, the difficulties associated with dealing with new, emerging, experimental technologies are also those of managing uncertainty, control, identification of incognito and indeterminate. And, let's face it, forecasting has limits, and probably can neither reduce the surprises nor the unknown factors that we will face.
    We need to extend our gaze and depths of seeing, measuring the pace and drawing the limits, between the immediate and the distant, in view of the foreseeable and controllable effects and the unlimited ones.
    From this it follows that there is a certain cost in the time of ethics, that being in its time might seems delayed. So, even if scientists complain that ethics are "delayed", "far behind", in a slower pace than scientific and technological discoveries, an ethic of responsibility, of reciprocity, really matters. Bioethics should be positioned before the political decision, because must open the door to a wide debate.

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    Two examples of clinical applications of genomic data: precision medicine and mendelian randomization
    António Vaz Carneiro
    Director of Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon

    The NIH Human Genome Research Institute defines precision medicine as an …”Emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in environment, lifestyle and genes for each person.” On the other hand, it defines genome editing as …”A method that lets scientists change the DNA of many organisms, including plants, bacteria, and animals.”
    Difficult to perform until recently, with the advent of a new genome editing tool called CRISPR it is now easier than ever to edit DNA. Some of the most important ethical discussions center around human germline editing, because it is known that these changes can be passed down to future generations.
    We will briefly discuss some general aspects of precision medicine as well as some of the main ethical concerns such as safety of genome editing, generalized access, and utilization in embryos.

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    New tools on human genetic engineering: revisiting legal and ethical controversies around Playing God
    Paula Lobato de Faria
    Professor of Health Law and Biolaw of the ENSP/UNL

     In September 2017, a boy was born using for the first time a so-called “three-parent” technique, which means the baby has DNA from three different persons. The technique was necessary to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial DNA from the mother who is a carrier of Leigh Sindrom, a fatal disorder that affects the developing of the nervous system. The couple already lost their first two children to the disease. John Zhang who leads the team that developed the “three-parent” technique had to do the procedure in Mexico where, opposite to the US where the tool had not been approved, there is no law against it.
    This and other recent advances in human genetic engineering such as the breakthrough tool CRISPR/Cas9 (“clustered regulatory interspaced short palindromic repeats”/ “CRISPR-associated protein 9”), several discussions among bioethicists and science and health lawyers emerged with renewed vigor. The voices heard are far from consensus. Some are willing to dismantle any legal restrictions to the new human enhancement techniques, such as the prohibition of genetic modification in the germline by the Oviedo Convention, being sure of their importance in the future of humanity. Others, more skeptical, consider unsafe and unwise to attempt to make better human beings by altering the genetics of an embryo.
    In this presentation we will identify the main trends of the discussion on the issues mentioned in the previous paragraphs, and afterward we will analyze how the present European and (some) national legal frameworks, such as the Portuguese, answer them. At the end a look at what the future may bring in legal terms is evoked.

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  • 12:30
    Discussion

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  • 13:00
    Lunch Break

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  • 14:30
    Selected presentations

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    ChairDr Ana Delicado
    Institute of Social Sciences (ICS)

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    Neurofeedback-Based Moral Enhancement and the Future of Human Evolution
    Koji Tachibana
    Faculty of Letters, Kumamoto University, Japan; Academic Visitor, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, UK

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    From patenting edits to editing patents: Lessons from non-ideal theory on the ownership of CRISPR-Cas9
    Oliver Feeney (Centre of Bioethical Research and Analysis, National University of Ireland, Galway), Julian Cockbain (Bioethics Institute Ghent, Ghent University), Sigrid Sterckx (Bioethics Institute Ghent, Ghent University), Lisa Diependaele (Department of Philosophy and moral sciences, Ghent University) and Michael Morrison (Centre for Health, Law and Emerging Technologies (HeLEX), University of Oxford)

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  • 15:15
    Discussion

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  • 15:30
    Coffee Break

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  • 15:45

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    The UNESCO Bioethics Programme and genome editing: a global governance perspective
    Adèle Langlois
    School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK

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    DIY Biohacking and the Citizen Scientist: Emerging ‘Do-It-Yourself’ narratives in the ‘democratization’ of biomedical innovation and human enhancement (An ethnographic snapshot from the Bay Area, California)
    Lauren Riggs
    Department of Anthropology and Sociology, The Graduate Institute, Geneva

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  • 16:30
    Discussion

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  • 16:45
    Conclusions/Closing

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Speakers

Keynote Speakers

John Harris
Bartha Knoppers


John Harris
FMedSci., Member Academia Europaea., FRSA., B.A., D.Phil., Hon.D.Litt.
Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester and Visiting Professor in Bioethics, Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, School of Global Affairs, King’s College London.

John Harris is Professor Emeritus in Bioethics, University of Manchester and Visiting Professor at Kings College London.

John Harris was educated at the University of Kent and at Balliol College, Oxford, he is married to the multiple BAFTA, EMMY and Royal Television Society award winning Producer of television drama, Sita Williams and they have a son, Jacob.

John Harris is the author or editor of twenty-one books and over three hundred and fifty papers. He has published in most of the leading philosophical journals in his field including The Journal of Medical Ethics, Bioethics, The Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, The Hastings Centre Report, Philosophy, The Philosophical Quarterly, The Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society  and Philosophy & Public Affairs.  He has also published in many of the leading science journals including Nature [Impact factor 34.480], Nature Reviews Genetics [Impact Factor 27.822], Nature Reviews Cancer [Impact Factor 29.538], Science [Impact factor 29.747], Cell Stem Cell [Impact Factor 23.563],  Journal of Clinical Oncology [Impact factor 17.793], Annals of the New York Academy of Science [Impact Factor 2.67] , Lancet Oncology [Impact Factor 13.283.], Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Impact Factor 9.432] and The British Medical Journal [Impact Factor 12.287].

His books include:

On Cloning,  Routledge, London, 2004. Enhancing Evolution, Princeton University Press 2007 and  How to be Good published by Oxford  University Press in April 2016.

http://www.theguardian.com/profile/john-harris 

 


Bartha Knoppers
Director of Centre of Genomics and Policy, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD (Comparative Medical Law), is a Full Professor, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine and Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy of the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is Chair of the Ethics and Governance Committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (2009-2017), as well as the Ethics Advisory Panel, WADA (2015- ), and Co-Chair of the Regulatory and Ethics Working Group of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (2013- ). In 2015-2016, she was a member of the Drafting Group for the Recommendation of the OECD Council on Health Data Governance. She holds four Doctorates Honoris Causa and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Hastings Center (bioethics), the Canadian Academy Health Sciences (CAHS), and, the Royal Society of Canada. She is also an Officer of the Order of Canada and of Quebec and Senior Advisor to Norton Rose Fulbright. In 2017, she was the Galton Lecture 2016 awardee.


Byron Kaldis
Professor of Philosophy, Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law School of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences, The National Technical University of Athens

Byron Kaldis, BA Honours (Kent) D.PHIL. (Oxford), is Professor of Philosophy at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Research Center for Moral Culture, Department of Philosophy, Hunan Normal University, China.  He has also held academic and administrative positions at universities in the UK, USA and Greece. His research interests include questions in metaphysics, the philosophy of social sciences, the philosophy of science and technology and the relation of ethics and politics. He was the founder and general editor of the Sage Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Social Sciences.


Rui Diogo
Associate Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and a member of the Resource Faculty at the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at George Washington University.

Rui Diogo is an Associate Professor at Howard University College of Medicine and a member of the Resource Faculty at the Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology at George Washington University. One of the youngest researchers to be nominated as Fellow of the American Association of Anatomists, he won several prestigious awards, being the only researcher to be selected for the first/second place for best article of the year in the top anatomical journal two times in just three years (2013/2015). Author or co-author of more than 100 papers in top journals, such as Nature, and of numerous book chapters, he is the co-editor of three books and the sole or first author of eleven books covering subjects as diverse as fish evolution, chordate development, and human medicine and pathology, including a book adopted at medical schools worldwide, "Learning and understanding human anatomy and pathology: an evolutionary and developmental guide for medical students."


 

Alexandre Quintanilha
i3S, UPorto, CEIC, President of the Parliamentary Committee of Education and Science

Alexandre Tiedtke Quintanilha was born and completed high school in Lourenço Marques (Maputo) Mozambique.

Read physics/mathematics at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg, completing his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics in 1972. The next two decades in California at U.C. Berkeley and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as professor of cell physiology and director of a Center for Environmental Studies. He moved to the University of Porto as professor of biophysics at the Biomedical Faculty (ICBAS) in the early 90’s. Was, until 2010, director of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, which he founded, and president of the Institute of Biomedical Engineering. He then chaired the committee responsible for implementing a newly formed consortium of the three major biomedical research institutions in Porto (i3S). He is a member of several international Academies, and over the years has chaired various committees at the ESF, the OECD, the European Commission (Chair of Advisory Committee for Marie Curie Actions, Chair of ELSA, and member of EURAB and of STAC) and other national and international research organizations.< He is currently President of the Parliamentary Committee for Education and Science and President of the Ethics Committee for Clinical Research in Portugal. He has published well over one hundred and thirty peer-reviewed scientific articles and six books and has always been involved in science policy. His current interests are in the areas of biological stress, risk perception and public understanding of science.


Lucília Nunes
Vice-President of National Council of National Ethics Council for the Life Sciences

Lucília Nunes, doctorate in Philosophy, with Aggregation in Philosophy, specialty Ethics; Master of Science in Nursing and Cultural and Political History. Currently, Professor at School of Health, Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal; vice-president of the National Council of Ethics for Life Sciences.


 

António Vaz Carneiro
Director of Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon

António Vaz Carneiro, MD, PhD, FACP, FESC
Specialist in Internal Medicine, Mount Sinai Hospital and Medical School, New York, USA. Santa Maria University Hospital, Lisbon. Portuguese Medical Association (1985)
Specialist in Nephrology, University of California, San Francisco, USA. Santa Maria University Hospital, Lisbon. Portuguese Medical Association (1988)
PhD in Medicine (Critical Care) at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (1994)
Head, Center for Evidence Based Medicine at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (since 1999)
Past Member, National Council on Bioethics (designated by the Portuguese Parliament) (2003-2009). Presently, member of 4 other bioethics councils
Rater Consultant, McMaster University PLUS/PIER/EB Journals, Canada (2005)
Fellow, American College of Physicians (Elected April 2008)
Specialist in Clinical Pharmacology, Portuguese Medical Association (2008)
External advisor, Accreditation Process for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NHS Evidence Service, United Kingdom (2009- )
Director, Harvard Medical School Portugal Program in Translational Research and Health Information (2009-12)
Executive-Director, Institute for Advanced Education at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (2009- )
Head, Center for Information and Documentation at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (2009- )
External advisor, Accreditation Process for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, NHS Evidence Service, United Kingdom (2009- )
Director, Cochrane Portugal (2011- )
Editorial and Scientific Consultant, DynaMed, USA (2011- )
Chair, Best Evidence Medical Education Review Editorial Board, Association for Medical Education in Europe (2013-15)
Member, Clinical Practice Guideline Committee – European Society of Cardiology (2014-16)
Fellow, European Society of Cardiology (Elected August 2015)
Director, Institute for Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (2017- )
Director, Institute for Environmental Health at the University of Lisbon School of Medicine (2017- )
Editor and Reviewer of several medical journals (Portuguese and International)
More than 300 papers and book chapters published, more than 400 scientific talks given.


 

 

Paula Lobato de Faria
Professor of Health Law and Biolaw of the ENSP/UNL

Paula Lobato de Faria has a degree in Law, in the branch of legal and economic sciences, from the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon, a DEA in health law from the University of Bordeaux and a PhD in Law from the Montesquieu University (Bordeaux-France). Her PhD, on the subject of genetic data confidentiality has been recognized as a doctorate in public law by the Universidade Nova de Lisboa (NOVA University). She is associate professor of the National School of Public Health at NOVA, where she coordinates the Department of Social Sciences in Health and the PhD on Global Public Health. Her main activity is to teach and to develop research in health law, biolaw and research ethics in Portugal and abroad. Since 2004, she is the coordinator of a project for academic exchange with the department of health law, bioethics and human rights of the Boston University School of Public Health, within which four international seminars had already take place. She worked as a researcher at the University of Oslo on a biobanks legal and social aspects project and collaborated on several expert panels within the European Commission, where in 2005 she was independent observer of the evaluation process of projects in the area of the Risk Governance and Ethics Programme (FP6-2005-Science-and-Society). From 1998 to 2002 she coordinated the National Committee of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education in Portugal. She also contributed in the drafting of national legislation in the fields of communicable diseases and confidentiality of genetic data. She has published articles and chapters in national and international books and journals about the conceptualization of health law, as well as the legal and juridical aspects of the health system, the responsibility of professionals and healthcare facilities, patient safety, protection and confidentiality of health information, the rights and duties of patients and biobanks, being the author, among others, of Medical Law in Portugal, monograph and chapter of the International Encyclopaedia of Laws (Kluwer editions, 2010) which up-date is scheduled to 2018. She also co-authored the chapters Public health: current and emergent legal and ethical issues in a nutshell in the Routledge Handbook of Medical Law and Ethics, (Routledge, Editors: Yann Joly, Bartha-Maria Knoppers, 2014) and Patients’ duties: The missing element in European Healthcare Law in the book European Health Law (Editor: André den Exter, 2017).


Registration






Organisation

Organizing Committee:
Dr. Alexander Gerner [CFCUL]
Dr. Mara Almeida [CFCUL]
João Pinheiro [CFCUL]

Scientific Committee:
Professor Philip Kitcher
Professor Gregory Stock
Professor Susan Kelly
Professor Kevin M. Esvelt
Professor Rita Zilhão
Professor Maria Fernanda Palma
Professor Daniel Andler
Dr. François Thoreau


Venue

Anfiteatro da Fundação FCUL,  C1 building,
Faculty of Sciences

Campo Grande Campus,
University of Lisbon

 


2nd Call for Papers

The Conference will have two parts:

1. Evolution and the Sciences and Technologies of Human Enhancement

Organismal dynamics are such that organisms incontrovertibly affect the very evolutionary pressures that shape them, even if only indirectly. But seemingly, amongst all organisms and perhaps owing to their cognitive evolution, humans became exceptionally fine controllers of both theirs and other organisms’ evolutionary processes. In virtue of the sciences and technologies of human enhancement, more effective exertion of control over evolution is nowadays becoming evident, and this is shown among others by the rise of new technics such as genetic editing tools. However, human enhancement and its broad evolutionary effects are still understudied.

We invite contributions to the effort of understanding the plethora of ways in which evolution relates to human enhancement. As such, topics of interest may include, but are not limited to:

  • The human evolutionary possibilities: predictive models, challenges and limitations;
  • Directed evolution, both gene driven (e.g. genetic engineering, induced mutagenesis, and reprogenetics) or non-germline based;
  • Evolutionary trade-offs of assisted modes of human reproduction, immunity engineering, medical and health technologies, and of longevity enhancements (interferences in senescence and lifespan), their demographics and population dynamics;
  • Natural and artificially induced reticulate evolution (e.g. human-non-human transgenesis);
  • Present & future human evolution (e.g. k-selection and speciation);
  • The impact of technological evolution qua niche construction on human evolution and ecology (e.g. geoengineering; non-Earth-bounded evolution);
  • Non-carbon-based evolution (including AIs of all kinds & alien);
  • The evolution of 4E and scaffolded cognition;
  • The relation between fitness and human enhancement (e.g. does human enhancement enhance fitness?);
  • Working definitions of “human enhancement” for Evolutionary Theories;
  • Is there actual control over evolution? How could we understand it?
  • Human evolution in relation to Technology evolution (e.g. human-machine interfaces);

Keynote Speaker(s): Professor John Harris
Invited Speaker(s): Professor Rui Diogo; TBA.

Local Organizing Committee:
João Pinheiro [CFCUL]; Dr. Alexander Gerner [CFCUL]

   

2. Policy & ELSA of Genome Editing and Human Enhancement

Genome editing is a technology with the potential to promote and enhance health, and understand disease. However, as many other disruptive advances in science, it also brings challenges at an ethical, legal, social, and political level, particularly regarding the treatment of hereditary diseases and the integrity of the human germline. The possibilities of genome-editing and its limits and consequences, specifically to therapeutic applications and targeted interventions in ecosystems are being broadly discussed by many. It will be important to contribute to the debate in a critical and transparent way with the participation of scientists, society and policy-makers. This will provide a platform to better assess the benefits and potential risks of the technology to help support the development of sound policies in the future.

We invite reflections upon the following themes (including but not limited to):

  • Ethical, legal, political and social challenges associated with genome-editing;
  • Genetic editing: evolution of technology and medicine and its implications for human health, and the natural environment;
  • Socio-ethical and policy-related questions about the acceptability of germline modification;
  • Challenges on defining “Genetic identity”, parenthood and respective responsibilities: limits and consequences;
  • “Human enhancement” potential of genetic editing: Implications and scientific- technological feasibility thereof;
  • Responses to the challenge of established norms.

Keynote Speaker(s): Professor Bartha Maria Knoppers
Invited Speakers: Professor Alexandre Quintanilha; TBA.

Local Organizing Committee:
Dr. Alexander Gerner [CFCUL]; Dr. Mara Almeida [CFCUL]