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News Release

Lecture to address ethical considerations for DNA typing

(Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) – Moravian College will host a special lecture by Dr. Pamela Sanka, DNA Typing: Panacea or Pandora’s Box? on Thursday, April 24 at 4 p.m. in room 102 of the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex (PPHAC). Sanka is an assistant professor of bioethics in the Department of Medical Ethics in the School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and a Fellow at the Center for Bioethics. The lecture, which connects the areas of biology, mathematics and computer science, and philosophy is sponsored by the Arts and Lectures Committee at Moravian College as part of the Connecting the Disciplines Series.

Sankar earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan where she studied the history of ideas. She went to Boston University for graduate training in anthropology and communications and earned her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded a Veteran's Administration Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Health Services Research and Development during which she conducted a hospital-based ethnographic study of medical record-keeping practices. Sankar is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Sankar’s research and teaching interests include research ethics, ethical and cultural implications of genetic research, genetics and race, medical privacy and confidentiality, and historical studies of personal identification technologies and the emergence of state power. She is currently working on a study involving the DeCode Genetics’ Health Sector Data Base in Iceland and has begun a new project funded by the National Institutes of Health entitled, “Beyond Stigma: Interpreting Genetic Difference.” She is also completing a book, Regulating Criminal Identity: From Log Books to DNA-Typing (Columbia University Press).

"DNA typing" or "DNA fingerprinting" is an increasingly valuable aspect of forensic investigations because it can help establish guilt or innocence in criminal trials. It is also important in determining paternity, identifying remains, and investigating evolutionary relationships. It is a rather new technology, and its long-term impact on society is uncertain. But it is evident that it contains both risks and benefits. For more information call (610) 861-1491 or visit the web site at www.moravian.edu.