International Summer School: Pluripotent Stem Cells

September, 28th – October, 2nd, 2015 

Studienhaus Gut Schönwag near Munich, Germany.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 10th May 2015

The Institute Technology • Theology • Natural Sciences (TTN) at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich organizes an international scientific summer school, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, on the subject: “Pluripotent Stem Cells. Scientific practice of stem cell research: ethical, legal and social aspects and discourses”

Human stem cell research is one of the so-called “hope-, hype- and fear-technologies”. Shinya Yamanaka’s development of a technique to reprogram somatic cells to ‘induced pluripotent’ stem cells in 2006 relighted new and intense ethical and legal discussions to the established embryonic
stem cell debate. Especially the recourse to developmental biological totipotency as criterion for the evaluation of the ethical, legal and ontological status of stem cells is being challenged by new techniques to create possibly totipotent entities.

The aim of this summer school is to provide a context for international and multi-disciplinary dialogue in order to reconstruct the current debates and their background on stem cell research in Germany and Great Britain and to discuss foundations for a more consistent ethical evaluation and legal framing of the life sciences.

Comparing the cultural differences of the debates, the ethical evaluations, and the juridical frameworks in the two countries is productive as they are considered as counterparts: While in Great Britain a utilitarian, case-based tradition of ethical and political decision-making is supposed to have led to one of the most liberal regulations of embryonic stem cell research, the perseverative discussion of the status and the dignity of the embryo in Germany might have led to its strict but inconsistent regulation of research involving embryos. These attributions are to be scrutinized and a deeper understanding of the state of research and debate as well as their societal and cultural preconditions is to be developed by the investigation of the contrast.

The program includes talks of the participants and the speakers, moderated discussions, insights in the practice of stem cell research through the visit of a laboratory and the presentation of a research project as well as cultural evening events. Main subject areas will be:

  • State of the molecular biological debate
  • Epistemological and ethical status of stem cells
  • Philosophical and sociological reflections on life sciences research
  • Ethical, legal and social aspects of the stem cell debate in Great Britain and Germany
  • Recommendations for a European and International stem cell regulation

Speakers

Prof. Dr. Peter Dabrock Systematic Theology (Ethics), Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg; Member of the German Ethics Council
Prof. Dr. Christine Hauskeller Philosophy and Sociology, University of Exeter; Member of the Central Ethics Committee on stem cell research of the Robert-Koch-Institut
Prof. Dr. Jens Kersten Public Law and Administrative Law, LMU Munich; Chairman of the scientific advisory committee of the Institute TTN
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Winkler Molecular Neurology, University Clinic of Erlangen; Spokesperson of the Bavarian research association “Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells”

We invite up to 12 young researchers from all areas of the field to present and discuss their work within an interdisciplinary group of young scientists and a team of high profile experts from the different disciplines in the field. Applications should contain an abstract of about 500 words describing your paper, a CV and a list of publications. Application deadline: May 10th, 2015

Travel and accomodation expenses will be reimbursed. After the conference, participants are expected to submit their revised paper as a book chapter for which a honorarium of 300 Euro will be paid. We also offer a free child care during the summer school, please contact us in advance in case of interest.

For further information and submission of applications please contact Anja Pichl: anja.pichl@elkb.de Further information is also available here.

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