Socialising the Genome: Genomics, Communications and Public Trust
In our connected world, we share scores of data about ourselves every day. But few pieces of data are as precious and personal as our genetic information. Understanding the differences and similarities between our genes can unlock answers around the variants involved in Covid as well as how to personalise treatment for disease. But we know the word ‘genetics’ itself can cause whole swaths of society to disengage, thinking ‘it’s not for me’, ‘I won’t understand it’ or ‘I’m frightened of it’. We will set the scene for who is currently very disconnected and why we need to genuinely ‘socialise genomics’ for mainstream public audiences and suggest that whilst scientists need to be worthy of public trust, they also need to be able to effectively communicate what genomics is, in a language that everyday people actually understand. Without addressing this, society cannot be a true recipient of the benefits of genetics, nor will they have a voice in genetics policy that will directly affect all of us.
Professor Anna Middleton, Founder and Head of Society and Ethics Research at Wellcome
Prof Anna Middleton is the founder and Head of Society and Ethics Research at Wellcome funded Connecting Science in Cambridge. She is an entrepreneurial research leader who delivers high impact social science and engagement around the ethics of science. She leads a team that sits within the Wellcome Sanger Institute, which is a non-profit academic world leader in genetics research, currently identifying variants of Covid for UK Public Health agencies and delivering cutting edge research on the genetic basis of disease. The focus of her group is to understand how public audiences make sense of the impact of genetic information. She is particularly interested in how to engage disengaged audiences and how trust is authentically communicated. She has led the largest study of public attitudes in the world on genomic data sharing involving 37k people from 22 countries, study delivered in 16 languages.
Vivienne Parry OBE, Head of Public Engagement, Genomics England
Vivienne Parry has been Head of Public Engagement at Genomics England since its foundation, ensuring that the organisation both earns and maintains public trust and confidence in the use of genomic data. She combines this role with her career as a science broadcaster, journalist, and author. She also has an extensive commitment to public service, serving on the boards of UCL, the MRC and UKRI.
- 15 Jun, 2021 12:00 - 13:00 BST
- Virtual, Zoom webinar See map