Dr. Kevin Davies,
the British science writer and author of several books on the human
genome, will deliver the annual J. Roderick Davis Lecture Thursday, Oct.
14. The 7:30 p.m. lecture in Wright Center
is open to the public free. The lectureship, named for the former
Samford arts and sciences dean, brings an influential writer to campus
each fall to discuss an important social issue.
Davis wrote the 2001 book,
Cracking the Genome, which chronicled efforts to complete the
genetic code. The book explored the history of the what Davis described
as the “greatest scientific discovery of our time,” as well as the
personalities involved and the prospects and pitfalls
of genetic research based on knowing the genetic code.
The founder of the genetics research journal,
Nature Genetics, Davies recently published The $1,000 Genome,
a book that explores the remarkable growth of personal genomics, which
enables consumers to learn information about their health risks and
ancestry from their own DNA and the emergence
of next-generation technologies that soon will make human genome
sequencing routine for about $1,000.
biochemistry at St. Peter’s College, Oxford University, and earned his
Ph.D. in genetics from the University of London before moving to the
U.S. to pursue further research. He holds postdoctoral
fellowships in Boston at the Whitehead Institute and Harvard Medical
As part of the Davis Lecture schedule, Samford will hold two preliminary programs on the genome and genetics testing.
Debate” is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 6, at 6 p.m. in Brock Recital
Hall. Dr. Michael Janas, associate professor of communications, and Abi
Williams, debate coach and instructor in communication
studies, will debate issues related to genetics.
A panel discussion
on “Biotechnology, the Genome and Genetic Testing: Biomedical and
Ethical Issues” will be held Wednesday, Oct. 13 at 3 p.m. in Brock
Forum. Panelists will be Dr. Bruce Korf, chairman,
department of genetics, University of Alabama in Birmingham School of
Medicine; Dr. Bradley Dennis, medical director, Brookwood Hospital; Dr.
George Keller, moderator, associate professor, biological and
environmental sciences, Samford; Dr. David Johnson,
professor, biological and environmental sciences, Samford; and Dr.
Dennis Sansom, chair, department of philosophy, Samford.
Dr. David Chapman,
dean of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences, which sponsors
the lectureship, noted that “many people are concerned about the future
of genetic research.” He added, “Although
we are excited about the possibility of curing diseases and correcting
genetic defects, we are also fearful of genetic engineering that seems
to be tampering with nature.” This year’s Davis Lecture “will be an
opportunity to discuss all these questions and
consider their physical and moral implications,” he said.