13 July 2016

IAB2016 Reflections: Emilia Niemiec

By Emilia Niemic

The session ‘Trends in Bioethics’ was one that I enjoyed most. Dr Tenzin Wangmo presented research revealing that the number of articles presenting empirical research in bioethics journals has been increasing in recent years. The following talk given by Dr Jonathan Ives outlined the problems relating to combining empirical and normative analysis of empirical research in bioethics. I find these issues important to recognize, investigate and discuss, especially as some empirical research may have implications relevant to policy-making.

Furthermore, participation in the ELSI 2.0 + EuCelLEX Project Satellite Symposium was a valuable experience for me. The presentations and discussions on gene editing brought various perspectives and outlined a number of ethical, legal and social issues, which are important to consider. The lecture given by Prof Rosario Isasi explaining legal issues related to gene editing was particularly informative and helpful.

The performance of ‘HeLa’ was without a doubt another highlight of the Congress. The talented artist Adura Onashile told the story of Henrietta Lacks and the cell line derived from her cancerous cells. Not only did the performance outline the life of Henrietta Lacks in a vivid, compelling, and enjoyable manner, but it also provided insights into the related ethical issues and sparked thoughtful comments and discussion in the audience.

Finally, the session dedicated to early career researchers (panelled by Hugh Whittall, Dr Dan O'Connor, and Professors Ilina Singh and Nils Hoppe) helped me to realise the importance of networking and collaboration, as well as recognising and highlighting one’s strong and unique characteristics as a researcher. Moreover, the speakers provided helpful advice for conducting policy-relevant research and made the audience aware of potential related obstacles.