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CLB Speaker Series: David Winickoff


December 3, 2007 5:00pm - 6:00pm


Assemblages of personal health information, human DNA, and heterogeneous capital known as “biobanks” remain controversial events in the ethics and politics of the life sciences. Recent disputes around property in medical records, genetic data, and tissue samples demonstrate that the now-famous Moore v. Regents case was but the tip of a large iceberg of normative unsettlement in this area. Even as new and larger biobanking initiatives are emerging in the United States, scholarship on biobank governance has comparatively ignored property in favor of focusing on consent, IRBs, and privacy. A promising new attempt to negotiate the ethical and political dilemmas of genomic property has recently emerged in the United Kingdom in the form of the UK Biobank project. Governance in UK Biobank deserves attention and scrutiny, as it is staking out a new imagination of the genomic biobank as a common-pool resource. The talk will explore the ways this model might be useful for projects emerging in the US. It will also explore the ways in which if pushed further, UK Biobank’s notion of “partnership governance” might help solve persistent problems in the governance of human subjects research.