Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

March 21, 2006

Bioethics Expert to Present April 6 Lecture on Stem-Cell Research
as Part of New Science & Society Lecture Series at Whitworth College

An expert on bioethics will address the hot-button issue of stem-cell research in an April 6 lecture as part of Whitworth's new Science & Society Lecture Series. The annual series will feature experts who will address current scientific issues that are of interest to the general public. The series was created by Whitworth trustees, faculty and administrators to increase understanding and awareness of scientific advances and issues that influence areas including public policy, law, ethics and business.

Lisa Sardinia, J.D., Ph.D., an associate professor of biology in the Department of Biology and College of Optometry at Pacific University, will present the first Science & Society Lecture, "The Stem-Cell Debate: Science, Ethics and Public Policy," on Thursday, April 6, at 7 p.m. in the Eric Johnston Science Center Auditorium, Room 233, at Whitworth. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3266.

Laurel Coleman, M.D., a Whitworth trustee, has been one of the visionaries and supporters of the lecture series. Dr. Coleman is a geriatrician and is medical director for Beacon Hospice, in Maine; she also serves on the National Board of the Alzheimer's Association.

"Our hope in creating the Science & Society Series is that the lectures will raise the profile of the sciences and increase the public's interest in and knowledge of current issues confronting our society," Coleman says. "These important issues include an aging population, nanotechnology, AIDS/HIV infection, flu epidemic, global warming, stem-cell research, and organ transplantation."

Sardinia, a Whitworth alumna from the Class of 1979, holds a doctorate in microbiology from Montana State University and a juris doctor degree from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She is the recipient of a National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship (1985-88) and has published a number of articles and abstracts, including "Pedigree Analysis," "Genome Size," and "Stem Cells" in Encyclopedia of Genetics, Revised Edition (Salem Press, Pasadena, Calif., 2004).

Sardinia is also co-investigator for a $257,000 grant that was awarded to the Pacific Institute for Ethics & Social Policy in 2005 by the National Institute of Health. The two-year grant supports the development of a community-education pilot program, Faith Forum on Genetics: An ELSI Educational Intervention for Religious Communities. The program features 200 lay participants, along with 20 lay leaders drawn from 10 religious communities in the Portland area, who will address the ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genetic technology within the context of a faith-oriented community understanding.

The program, which was created through the collaboration of the Pacific Institute, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and national experts in the field of genetics, aims to augment participant knowledge and understanding of genetic science and its implications; increase participant engagement in genetic public-policy discourse; and develop an integrated transportable program that will be disseminated through national adult-education channels.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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