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Date and Location

March 4, 2019
12:15 PM - 2:00 PM ET
Cgis (south) Building Room S050 1730 Cambridge Street


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Lunch is provided if you RSVP.

Please RSVP via our online form before Thursday afternoon, February 28th.


Although restricted by confidentiality requirements, I want to discuss informally my involvement in the expert working group that reported to the Australian Council of Learned Societies (ACOLA) on the future of precision medicine and the expert advisory committee for the Genomics Health Futures Mission (GHFM), responsible for drawing up a framework to dispense USD 350 million for “precision medicine” in Australia . This presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the culture of “expertise” in health policy; the purpose of working groups and advisory groups in policy making; and the importance of networks and loose connections in allocation of biomedical research funding. Additionally, I will provide a brief alternative history of “personalized” and “precision” medicine and what I take to be their different relations to genetics or, later, genomics. In particular, I would like to explore the incapacity of genomics-oriented research and ethics (or regulatory) communities to imagine or encompass personalized medicine (hence the default to precision medicine, or so I argue).


Bio Warwick Anderson, MD, PhD, is Janet Dora Hine Professor of Politics, Governance and Ethics in the Department of History and the Charles Perkins Centre at the University of Sydney. (It should be noted that the CPC is a biomedical research institute that focuses on metabolomics and proteomics, not genomics.) In 2018-19, he is the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair of Australian Studies at Harvard, based in the Department of the History of Science. With Ian R. Mackay, he wrote Intolerant Bodies A Short History of Autoimmunity (Baltimore Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), which traces an alternative history of individuality and personhood in twentieth-century biomedicine.