Egenis Seminar: Stem Cell Research Agendas: Scientific, Clinical and Regulatory Practices in a Cross-National Perspective
SpeakersDr Christine Hauskeller, Dr Dana Wilson-Kovacs and Dr Susanne Weber
University of Exeter,Egenis, Byrne House,St Germans Road,Exeter, EX4 4PJ
Room no: GF7, Byrne House
Time: 3:30 - 5:00 PM
Over the past ten years a number of diverse research strands in biology and medicine have merged into one major evolving scientific field: stem cell research. This field of scientific inquiry carries immense hopes for the future treatments of a range of degenerative diseases, but it is contested in ethical debates, especially regarding the use of human embryos in research. Within the EU, its development has made for intersecting yet distinct national pathways, which have been the basis of scholarly discussions on the role of different systems of governance and regulatory policies.
We will present some findings from our ethnographic study in stem cell research units with a particular focus on the regulation of the science and its application in Britain and Germany. Understanding regulation as upstream interactional accomplishment between researchers, clinicians and regulators, we use a trans-national comparison of specific research sites to examine the impact of regulatory frameworks on everyday laboratory and clinical activities and and to answer the following questions: How is the organisation of scientific and clinical activity involving stem cells affected by regulation? What are the differences and similarities in attitudes to regulation between British and German participants? How do those working with stem cells make sense of the regulation? How do actors reflect on the connection between regulation and scientific development? We need to look closely at the bodies of practices and networks of interactions, interests and expertise regulation creates in order to assess its effect on scientific development. This focus enables us to address broader issues on the development of stem cell technologies and the challenges of implementing global regulations.