Can a new scientific innovation be immoral?
Innovation is a new or improved solution to an identified societal problem. This is the definition that students enrolled in BIO220 Innovation in Biology developed as they began their semester. This course aims to increase the ability of students to identify problems and to understand how science has and can be used to solve them.
Beyond simply understanding the science behind an innovation, students grapple with ideas such as “Is it moral to alter the genome of a fetus?” Associate Dean and Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Ursinus, Kelly Sorensen, recently joined the class to lead the students in such a discussion.
The business side of scientific innovation is also explored in the course. This week students headed to the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies to meet with Entrepreneur in Residence Maureen Cumpstone. There, they discussed what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how to start the process of building an idea out to a prototype proposal with a business model.
“I want students in the course to start looking at the world differently – with an ability to identify problems and ways to solve them. To begin to understand that at Ursinus they are learning a broad set of interdisciplinary skills that they can leverage to solve important problems,” says Professor of Biology Rebecca Roberts, who teaches the course.
If you want to learn more about what the students have been doing, be sure to come to the Celebration of Student Achievement on April 19th. Students will be presenting their work on the science and business of gene sequencing companies such as 23&Me.