Abstract: While research involving human subjects once consisted primarily of research on people, advances in biobanking and big data have transformed the research landscape. Personal data and biospecimens are increasingly at the centre of research, giving rise to difficult questions about whether and how to apply legal and ethical principles that were originally developed to govern research on people. This talk will focus on the principle of informed consent and the challenges of translating the principle from one context to the other. It will explore challenges that arise around the individual’s decision to participate, as well as those that emerge in the broader governance of research.
Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey Skopek is Lecturer in Medical Law, Ethics, and Policy in the Faculty of Law and Deputy Director of the Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences at the University of Cambridge. His research interests centre on advances in the biosciences that destabilize categories and concepts that play a foundational role in our law and ethics. He is currently working on projects that explore challenges posed by developments in precision medicine, biobanking, and big data. He previously taught at Harvard Law School, where he was a research fellow at the Petrie-Flom Centre for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics. Prior to entering academia, he served as a law clerk to the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He has been awarded Fulbright, Gates, and Truman Scholarships and holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, a Ph.D. and M.Phil. in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and an A.B. in History from Stanford University.