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Human Stem Cells: Scientific and Societal Impacts


Last year, UC Berkeley established its multidisciplinary Stem Cell Center and was among the first recipients of research money from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) created by the passage of California’s Proposition 71. Complementing its basic research initiatives, the University will use the CIRM grant to educate lawyers and humanists in the unique bioethical, sociological, and legal issues raised by stem cell research.

Please join Professors Randy Schekman and Charis Thompson as they explore both the science and the social implications of this emerging field. Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau, a member of California’s Proposition 71 stem cell oversight committee, will introduce the lecture.


Robert J. Birgeneau

Birgeneau, an internationally distinguished physicist, served as the ninth chancellor of UC Berkeley from 2004–13. Well known for his commitment to diversity and equity, he successfully advanced a vision of “Access and Excellence.” Prior to Berkeley, he was president of the University of Toronto for four years and on the faculty at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 25 years. He is a fellow of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of London, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and other scholarly societies.

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Randy Schekman

Schekman is a professor of molecular and cell biology at Berkeley, an adjunct professor of biochemistry and biophysics at UCSF, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Schekman shared the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas C. Südhof for their work on cell membrane vesicle trafficking.

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Charis Thompson

Thompson is Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of Gender & Women’s Studies, and a former founding director of the Science, Technology, and Society Center at UC Berkeley. She is an expert on the ethics of reproductive technologies and stem cell research. She read philosophy, psychology, and physiology at Oxford University, and got her Ph.D. from the Science Studies program at UC San Diego.

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