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Objective

New technologies have the promise to transform agricultural productivity and nutrition. However, many governments lack the risk assessment resources and experience needed to assure decision-makers and the public that environmental and food safety concerns posed by products of these technologies have been adequately addressed. The ILSI Research Foundation is developing risk assessment resources, and providing training to scientists, risk assessors and regulators, to promote science-based risk assessments of products of biotechnology.

Collaborators & Partners

US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), UNEP-GEF, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Indian Council of Agricultural Research and governmental ministries and departments in India, Bangladesh and Indonesia

Areas of Focus

In 2016, the ILSI Research Foundation undertook biosafety-related activities in India, Bangladesh, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Paraguay. In 2017, the ILSI Research Foundation is continuing its biosafety capacity building through:

e-Learning Courses

Self-paced and interactive courses developed by the ILSI Research Foundation serve as supplemental training resources to in-person workshops.

South Asia Biosafety Program

Managed by the ILSI Research Foundation, SABP assists India and Bangladesh in further strengthening institutional governance of biotechnology.

UNEP-GEF Phase II Project

The ILSI Research Foundation provides technical support on risk assessment and risk management in South Asia.

Resources

Newsletters

Find out about the work being done through the South Asia Biosafety Program by reading our monthly newsletter.

e-Learning

e-Learning courses have been developed by the ILSI Research Foundation that focus on biosafety and biotechnology.

5th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference

Bangalore, India

Join the ILSI Research Foundation at the premier biosafety meeting in South Asia. Scientists, academics, researchers and officials from industry, research institutions, universities, government departments and ministries are encouraged to attend.

Read more

Agricultural Biotechnology: Driving from 1G to 5G

Can Tho, Vietnam

Dr. Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation, was invited by the USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to participate as a speaker and panelist in two sessions in this workshop on agricultural biotechnology.

Read more

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PDF Presentations are now available

About Agenda Presentations Poster Session Key Dates Social Media Past SABCs About

The South Asia Biosafety Conference (SABC) is the preeminent regional gathering of scientists, regulators and other stakeholders who are interested in biotechnology applications for sustainable development, environmental risk assessment, and biosafety regulation in South Asia.  This year’s conference was held at the Taj West End in Bangalore, India from September 11-13, 2017.  Under the auspices of the South Asia Biosafety Program, SABC was co-organized by the ILSI Research Foundation and Biotechnology Consortium India Ltd, with cooperation from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Government of India) and other regional partners.

Agenda

September 11, 2017

Delegate Registration and Inaugural Ceremony

Welcome and Introduction to the South Asia Biosafety Program: Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Biotech Consortium India Limited, India

Connecting Innovation and Sustainable Development: The Role of Modern Biotechnology: Dr. Morven McLean, Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation, USA

Address: Dr. Amita Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India

Address: Dr. Shri Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka

Keynote Address: Dr. K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT), India

Vote of Thanks: Ms. Libby Williams, ILSI Research Foundation, USA

Plenary Session I: Regulation and Capacity Building Initiatives in South Asia

Chair: Dr. D.B.T. Wijeratne, Food and Agriculture Organization, Sri Lanka

Update on Biosafety Regulation in Bangladesh
Ms. Papia Sultana, Department of Environment, Bangladesh

Update on the Bhutanese Biosafety Regulatory System
Mr. Jambay Dorji, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Bhuta

Update on Risk Assessment of GE Plants in India
Dr. K. Veluthambi, Madurai Kamaraj University, India

Biosafety Regulations in Sri Lanka: An Update
Ms. Surani Pathirana, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka

The Current State of GMO Regulation in New Zealand: Recent Decisions, Changes to Regulations, and Other New Developments
Dr. Timothy Strabala, Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand

Plenary Session II: Crop Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia

Chair: Dr. R.H. Sarker, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Enhanced Performance of Sugarcane Transgenics Under Water Limited Conditions and its Biosafety Considerations
Dr. C. Appunu, ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, India

In planta Transformation Following Cloning of Na+/H+ Antiporter Gene in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) to Develop Salinity Stress Tolerant Variety
Dr. Aparna Islam, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Genetic Engineering of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) for Insect Resistance
Dr. Alok Das, ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research, India

Hmgr1 Transgene Integrated Hevea - Future GM Rubber to the Field
Dr. Jayashree Radha, Rubber Research Institute of India

Coleus forskholii: Vegetatively Propagated Medicinal Plant for Production of Recombinant Proteins
Dr. P.H. Ramanjini Gowda, University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore, India

Lightning Round for Students and Young Researchers

Chair: Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Assessment of Impact of Genetically Engineered (GE) Mustard (Brassica juncea L.) on Honey Bees
Dr. Pranjali Vishwakarma, Biosafety Support Unit, India

Biosafety and in-situ Conservation of Wild Silk Moths in Natural Forest Ecosystem of North East India
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Government of India

Co-expression of PgNHX1 and AVP1genes in Tomato Improves Salt Tolerance in Transgenic Tomato Plants
Dr. D. L. Savithramma, University of Agricultural Sciences, India

Development of Physically-Contained Facility for Evaluation of Genetically Engineered OX513A Aedes aegypti L. Mosquito Strain in Maharashtra, India
Dr. Prabhakargouda Patil, GBIT Limited, India

Biosafety Data Generation from the Putatively Transformed Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Using afp Gene
Dr. Tahmina Islam, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

How Our Young Generation Perceive GM Food Crop
Dr. Aparna Islam, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Rapid Screening of hpRNAi Constructs for Imparting Plant Viral Disease Resistance by Employing Agro-Infiltration
Mr. Prasad Babu K, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, India

Standardization of Genetic Transformation Technique in Dolichos bean (Lablab purpureus (L.) sweet) for Pod Borer Resistance
Dr. Santosh Sawardekar, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, India

Transgenic Potato Conferring Field Resistance to Late Blight: Difficulties in Generating Food Safety Data of Pure RB Protein
Dr. Sundaresha Siddappa, Central Potato Research Institute, India

Poster Session

The poster session is sponsored by the International Society for Biosafety Research (ISBR). Conference participants were encouraged to share their work with colleagues by preparing a poster for this session. All posters convey relevance to biosafety research, environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or the regulation of GMOs– plants, animals, arthropods, or micro-organisms. First and second place prizes will be awarded for the most outstanding posters on September 13.

Opening Reception Dinner

The South Asia Biosafety Program gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the International Society for Biosafety Research for the Welcome Reception.

September 12, 2017

Plenary Session III: Soil and Plant Microbiomes

Chair: Dr. P.K. Chakrabarty, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, India

Keynote Presentation: Manipulating Soil and Root Microbiomes to Enhance Bioremediation and Reclamation of Hydrocarbon Impacted Soil Ecosystems
Dr. James Germida, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Harnessing the Power of Natural Biologicals in Agriculture
Dr. Jacob Parnell, Novozymes BioAg, United States

Use of Root Endophyte Piriformospora indica as a Plant Probiotic
Dr. Atul Kumar Johri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Ecological Implications of "Safe" Agricultural Amendments
Dr. Shilpi Sharma, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

Engineering an Environmentally Friendly Azotobacter Strain to Improve Nitrogen Fixation Efficiency
Dr. Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, India

Parallel Workshops

Pre-registered participants are invited to attend one of the following half day workshops:

Parallel Workshop I: Thinking Ahead: Designing Confined Field Trials to Maximize Data Transportability (Optional)
Parallel Workshop II: Best Practices for Public Sector Genetically Engineered Product Development Programs (Optional)
Parallel Workshop III: Intersection of the Cartagena Protocol and the Indian Biosafety Regulatory System (Optional)

September 13, 2017

Plenary Session IV: Synthetic Biology

Chair: Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Synthetic Biology Approaches to Improving Agricultural Yields
Dr. John Teem, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Can Synthetic Biology Lead to Synthetic Life?
Dr. Manju Bansal, Indian Institute of Science, India

Engineering a C4 Rice Prototype
Dr. HsiangChun Lin, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines

Chemical Biology to Combat Against a Parasitic Plant Striga
Dr. Yuichiro Tsuchiya, Nagoya University, Japan

Synthetic Biology in International Forums
Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Poster Session Awards

Dr. Donald MacKenzie, Treasurer, International Society of Biosafety Research

Prizes were awarded for the top two outstanding posters. First prize consisted of a two-year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research, a USD $500 cash prize, and an award certificate. Second prize consisted of a two-year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research, a USD $200 cash prize, and an award certificate. The winners’ names and abstracts will be posted on the South Asia Biosafety Program website, and highlighted in the South Asia Biosafety Program Newsletter.

Plenary Session V: New Applications of Biotechnology: Focus on Forestry and Biofuels

Chair: Dr. Santanu Dasgupta, Reliance Industries Limited, India

Keynote Presentation: Photosynthetic Bio-manufacturing in Green Algae; Food and Fuel for the 21st Century
Dr. Stephen Mayfield, University of California, San Diego, United States

Genetic Engineering of Algae for Higher Biofuel Value and Biosafety Issues
Dr. Shashi Kumar, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, India

Environmental Risk Assessment and Biosafety of Genetically Modified Algae
Dr. Tomal Dattaroy, Reliance Industries Limited, India

An in silico Strategy for Rational Design of Insect-Specific, Multigene Targeting Chimeric hprnai Constructs to Obviate Biosafety Concerns in Transgenic Entomophilous Trees
Dr. Mathish Nambiar-Veetil, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, India

Development of Genetically Engineered Jatropha for Biofuel Production: Quest for Sustainability and Climate Resilience
Dr. Bhavanath Jha, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India

The Radiata Pine Estate and the Regulation of GM Forestry Trees in New Zealand
Dr. Timothy Strabala, Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand

To view the full program, please visit the conference website.

Presentations

Delegate Registration and Inaugural Ceremony

Welcome and Introduction to the South Asia Biosafety Program (Video)
Dr. Vibha Ahuja, Biotech Consortium India Limited, India

Connecting Innovation and Sustainable Development: The Role of Modern Biotechnology(Video)
Dr. Morven McLean, Executive Director, ILSI Research Foundation, USA

Welcome Address (Video)
Dr. Amita Prasad, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, India

Keynote Address (Video)
Dr. Shri Gaurav Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, BT and S&T, Government of Karnataka

Vote of Thanks (Video)
Ms. Libby Williams, ILSI Research Foundation, USA

Plenary Session I: Regulation and Capacity Building Initiatives in South Asia

Update on Biosafety Regulation in Bangladesh (PDF | Video)
Ms. Papia Sultana, Department of Environment, Bangladesh

Update on the Bhutanese Biosafety Regulatory System (PDF | Video)
Mr. Jambay Dorji, Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority (BAFRA), Bhutan

Update on Risk Assessment of GE Plants in India (PDF | Video)
Dr. K. Veluthambi, Madurai Kamaraj University, India

Biosafety Regulations in Sri Lanka: An Update (PDF | Video)
Ms. Surani Pathirana, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka

The Current State of GMO Regulation in New Zealand: Recent Decisions, Changes to Regulations, and Other New Developments (PDF | Video)
Dr. Timothy Strabala, Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand

Plenary Session II: Crop Biotechnology and Biosafety in South Asia

Enhanced Performance of Sugarcane Transgenics Under Water Limited Conditions and its Biosafety Considerations (PDF | Video)
Dr. C. Appunu, ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute, India

In planta Transformation Following Cloning of Na+/H+ Antiporter Gene in Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) to Develop Salinity Stress Tolerant Variety (PDF | Video)
Dr. Aparna Islam, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Genetic Engineering of Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) for Insect Resistance (PDF | Video)
Dr. Alok Das, ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research, India

Hmgr1 Transgene Integrated Hevea - Future GM Rubber to the Field (PDF | Video)
Dr. Jayashree Radha, Rubber Research Institute of India

Coleus forskholii: Vegetatively Propagated Medicinal Plant for Production of Recombinant Proteins (PDF | Video)
Dr. P.H. Ramanjini Gowda, University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore, India

Lightning Round

Assessment of Impact of Genetically Engineered (GE) Mustard (Brassica juncea L.) on Honey Bees (PDF | Video)
Dr. Pranjali Vishwakarma, Biosafety Support Unit, India

Biosafety and in-situ Conservation of Wild Silk Moths in Natural Forest Ecosystem of North East India (PDF | Video)
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Government of India

Co-expression of PgNHX1 and AVP1genes in Tomato Improves Salt Tolerance in Transgenic Tomato Plants (PDF | Video)
Dr. D. L. Savithramma, University of Agricultural Sciences, Ind

Development of Physically-Contained Facility for Evaluation of Genetically Engineered OX513A Aedes aegypti L. Mosquito Strain in Maharashtra, India (PDF | Video)
Dr. Prabhakargouda Patil, GBIT Limited, India

Biosafety Data Generation from the Putatively Transformed Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) Using afp Gene (PDF | Video
Dr. Tahmina Islam, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

How Our Young Generation Perceive GM Food Crop (PDF | Video)
Dr. Aparna Islam, BRAC University, Bangladesh

Rapid Screening of hpRNAi Constructs for Imparting Plant Viral Disease Resistance by Employing Agro-Infiltration (PDF | Video)
Mr. Prasad Babu K, Indian Institute of Horticultural Research, India

Standardization of Genetic Transformation Technique in Dolichos bean (Lablab pur-pureus (L.) sweet) for Pod Borer Resistance (PDF | Video)
Dr. Santosh Sawardekar, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapeeth, India

Transgenic Potato Conferring Field Resistance to Late Blight: Difficulties in Generating Food Safety Data of Pure RB Protein (PDF | Video)
Dr. Sundaresha Siddappa, Central Potato Research Institute, India

Plenary Session III: Soil and Plant Microbiomes

Keynote Presentation: Manipulating Soil and Root Microbiomes to Enhance Bioremediation and Reclamation of Hydrocarbon Impacted Soil Ecosystems (PDF | Video)
Dr. James Germida, University of Saskatchewan, Canada

Use of Root Endophyte Piriformospora indica as a Plant Probiotic (PDF | Video)
Dr. Atul Kumar Johri, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

Ecological Implications of "Safe" Agricultural Amendments (Video)
Dr. Shilpi Sharma, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

Engineering an Environmentally Friendly Azotobacter Strain to Improve Nitrogen Fixation Efficiency (PDF | Video)
Dr. Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria, National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, India

Plenary Session IV: Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology Approaches to Improving Agricultural Yields (PDF | Video)
Dr. John Teem, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Can Synthetic Biology Lead to Synthetic Life? (PDF | Video)
Dr. Manju Bansal, Indian Institute of Science, India

Engineering a C4 Rice Prototype (PDF | Video)
Dr. HsiangChun Lin, International Rice Research Institute, Philippines

Chemical Biology to Combat Against a Parasitic Plant Striga (PDF | Video)
Dr. Yuichiro Tsuchiya, Nagoya University, Japan

Synthetic Biology in International Forums (PDF | Video)
Dr. Andrew Roberts, ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Plenary Session V: New Applications of Biotechnology: Focus on Forestry and Biofuels

Keynote Presentation: Photosynthetic Bio-manufacturing in Green Algae; Food and Fuel for the 21st Century (PDF | Video)
Dr. Stephen Mayfield, University of California, San Diego, United States

Genetic Engineering of Algae for Higher Biofuel Value and Biosafety Issues (PDF | Video)
Dr. Shashi Kumar, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, India

An in silico Strategy for Rational Design of Insect-Specific, Multigene Targeting Chimeric hprnai Constructs to Obviate Biosafety Concerns in Transgenic Entomophilous Trees (PDF)
Dr. Mathish Nambiar-Veetil, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, India

Environmental Risk Assessment and Biosafety of Genetically Modified Algae (PDF)
Dr. Tomal Dattaroy, Reliance Industries Limited, India

Development of Genetically Engineered Jatropha for Biofuel Production: Quest for Sustainability and Climate Resilience (PDF | Video)
Dr. Bhavanath Jha, Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India

The Radiata Pine Estate and the Regulation of GM Forestry Trees in New Zealand (PDF | Video)
Dr. Timothy Strabala, Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand

Poster Session

The 5th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference Poster Program provided an opportunity for individuals to share their research, findings and achievements with colleagues at the conference.

Presenting a poster was a noteworthy way to share expertise or accomplishment, and poster presenters had dedicated time to present and discuss their work with the diverse group of attendees. All posters conveyed relevance to biosafety research, environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or the regulation of GMOs– plants, animals, arthropods, or micro-organisms.

Poster Session Prizes

All posters accepted into the poster session were eligible for the Poster Competition, and two prizes were awarded.

The first place prize was awarded to Mr. Siddappa Sundaresha for his poster Transgenic Potato Conferring Field Resistance to Late Blight Difficulties in Generating Food Safety Data of Pure RB Protein. First prize consisted of a USD $500 cash prize, a two year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research (ISBR), and an award certificate. ISBR aims to promote scientifically sound research that supports biosafety assessment by improving communication among scientists who study plants, animals, and microbes with new characteristics due to altered DNA and produced using modern biotechnology.

The second place prize was awarded to Mr. Michael Chhandama for his poster Estimation of Lipid Content from Stress Induced Microalgae for Biodiesel Production. Second prize consisted of a USD $200 cash prize, a two year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research, and an award certificate.

Evaluation and Judging

Posters were evaluated as follows:

  1. Abstract (10%): Clarity and correlation with poster.
  2. Scientific content (70%): Introduction and background with literature cited, objectives, materials and methods, results and discussion, and significance to field. The quality of the research presented will be judged on its scientific rigor and significance as conveyed by the poster. Each poster must be self-explanatory. Judges may discuss the poster with its presenter but this will not be considered in the evaluation of the display.
  3. Poster Display (20%): Posters will be judged on organization, effective use of space, legibility, grammar and spelling, and effective use of graphics.

Each poster display is judged independently by four judges.

Key Dates

April 3, 2017

Registration and abstract submission open

July 15, 2017

Deadline for oral presentation abstract submissions

August 1, 2017

Deadline for poster session abstract submissions

September 1, 2017

Registration is closed

September 11-13, 2017

The 5th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference will be held at the Taj West End, Bangalore, India

Social Media

Join the conversation!

Follow along to @ILSIRF on Twitter for updates. #SABC2017 is the preferred hashtag for the 5th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference.

Past SABCs

View the presentations from the previous South Asia Biosafety Conferences by clicking on the links below:

4th Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference 2016
Hyderabad, India

3rd Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference 2015
Dhaka, Bangladesh

2nd Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference 2014
Colombo, Sri Lanka

1st Annual South Asia Biosafety Conference 2013
New Delhi, India

Congratulations to 1st Place
Poster Winner Sundaresha Siddappa!

Congratulations to Sundaresha Siddappa for his poster Transgenic Potato Conferring Field Resistance to Late Blight Difficulties in Generating Food Safety Data of Pure RB Protein winning first prize and receiving a two year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research, a USD $500 cash prize, and an award certificate.

Congratulations to Michael Chhandama
for winning 2nd Place in the Poster Competition!

Congratulations to second place winner, Michael Chhandama for his poster on Estimation of Lipid Content from Stress Induced Microalgae for Biodiesel Production. He received a two year membership for the International Society of Biosafety Research, a USD $200 cash prize, and an award certificate.

Who Should Attend? 

The South Asia Biosafety Conference is open to all scientists, academics, researchers and officials from industry, research institutions, universities, government departments and ministries.

What was new this year?

This year's program featured sessions on Soil and Plant Microbiomes; New Applications of Biotechnology: Focus on Forestry and Biofuels; Designing Confined Field Trials to Maximize Data Transportability; Best Practices for Public Sector Genetically Engineered Product Development Programs; the Intersection of the Cartagena Protocol and the Indian Biosafety Regulatory System. This year also included a lightning round for students and young scientists as well as three optional half day workshops.

Speakers

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Appunu

Dr. C. Appunu

ICAR-Sugarcane Breeding Institute

ILSI Research Foundation - SABC 2017 Speaker: Bansal, M.

Dr. Manju Bansal

Indian Institute of Science, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Das

Dr. Alok Das

ICAR-Indian Institute of Pulses Research

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Dattaroy

Dr. Tomal Dattaroy

Reliance Industries Limited, India

ILSI Research Foundation Mr. Dorji

Mr. Jambay Dorji

Bhutan Agriculture and Food Regulatory Authority, Bhutan

ILSI Research Foundaiton Dr. Germida

Dr. James Germida

University of Saskatchewan, Canada

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Islam

Dr. Aparna Islam

BRAC University, Bangladesh

Jha, B. Photo

Dr. Bhavanath Jha

Central Salt and Marine Chemicals Research Institute, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Shashi Kumar

Dr. Shashi Kumar

International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Kumar

Dr. Atul Kumar Johri

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Lin

Dr. HsiangChun Lin

International Rice Research Institute, Philippines

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Mayfield

Dr. Stephen Mayfield

University of California, San Diego, United States

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Nambiar-Veetil

Dr. Mathish Nambiar-Veetil

Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, India

ILSI Research Foundation - SABC 2017 Speaker: Padaria, J. C.

Dr. Jasdeep Chatrath Padaria

National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Parnell

Dr. Jacob Parnell

Novozymes BioAg, United States

ILSI Research Foundation SABC Dr. Pathirana

Ms. Surani Pathirana

Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Radha

Dr. Jayashree Radha

Rubber Research Institute of India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Gowda

P.H. Ramanjini Gowda

University of Agricultural Sciences Bangalore, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Roberts

Dr. Andrew Roberts

ILSI Research Foundation, United States

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Sharma

Dr. Shilpa Sharma

Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India

ILSI Research Foundation Dr. Strabala

Dr. Timothy Strabala

Environmental Protection Authority, New Zealand

Teem_J. Photo

Dr. John Teem

ILSI Research Foundation, United States

Tsuchiya, Y. Photo Unofficial

Dr. Yuichiro Tsuchiya

Nagoya University, Japan

Veluthambi, K.

Dr. K. Veluthambi

Madurai Kamaraj University, India

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The ILSI Research Foundation and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) co-organized the symposium “Gene Drive Modified Organisms and Practical Considerations for Environmental Risk Assessment”, held at the National Academy of Sciences’ Keck Center, Washington DC on July 19, 2017.  This symposium built on the excellent work achieved with the 2016 NASEM report Gene Drives on the Horizon and further explored how to frame and undertake environmental risk assessments of gene drive organisms in a way that will usefully inform decision-making related to their potential release.

Agenda

We are excited to announce a dynamic line-up of speakers for Gene Drive Modified Organisms and Practical Considerations for Environmental Risk Assessments. Download the agenda here.

1:00 Welcome and Introductions

Keegan Sawyer, Ph.D.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Morven McLean, Ph.D.
ILSI Research Foundation

1:15 Setting the context for the symposium

Sue Meek, Ph.D.
Sue Meek & Associates and The Australian National University

1:30 Engineering local and reversible gene drive

Bruce Hay, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

1:55 Setting a safe course for genome editing research

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D.
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

2:20 The role of experts, experiments and data in moving gene drive risk assessment from theory to practice

Keith Hayes, Ph.D.
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

2:45 Forecasting new technology risk perceptions: Are we there yet?

Dan Kahan, J.D.
Yale Law School

3:15 Integrating environmental risk assessment and stakeholder engagement: case study

Delphine Thizy
Target Malaria

3:35 Break

4:00 Panel Discussion and Q&A with Presenters

Moderator: Sue Meek

4:50 Summary Remarks

Sue Meek

5:00 Adjourn

Biographies

Bruce Hay, Ph.D.

Dr. Bruce A. Hay has been a Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology since 1996. His lab has two general areas of focus. The first revolves around the study programmed cell death and neurodegenerative diseases. The second seeks to understand and manipulate the composition and fate of genomes within cells and populations of individuals. At the level of the cell the lab works to understand and enhance the process of mitochondrial DNA quality control, which removes pathogenic mutant mitochondrial genomes that accumulate during normal aging and contribute to a number of age-related diseases. At the level of populations the lab works to develop technologies to control the composition and fate of wild populations. This work has four overall aims: 1) to bring about reproductive isolation (speciation) between populations of plants or animals that otherwise freely interbreed; 2) to engineer the genetics of invasive or pest insect populations so that they drive themselves to local extinction; 3) to drive genes into wild insect populations (population replacement) such that all individuals express a trait of interest, such as inability to transmit a mosquito-borne disease; 4) to bring about long-term infertility in wild (or feral) animals through vectored expression of antibodies or other proteins that inhibit key steps in reproduction.

Highlights of this work include the labs 2007 development of the first engineered gene drive mechanism, synthetic Medea selfish genetic elements that drive population replacement in insects. In subsequent work the lab had gone on to develop several other gene drive mechanisms designed to bring about local and reversible population replacement. In 2015 the lab reported the first development of a long term/lifetime single shot contraceptive utilizing gene therapy based approaches. In 2016 they showed for the first time that pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations could be eliminated from adult tissues through stimulation of several different signaling pathways.

Keith Hayes, Ph.D.

Dr. Keith Hayes started his research career with the Institute of Offshore Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, in 1993. Here he helped to develop quantitative risk assessment techniques for the abandonment and disposal of offshore platforms, and for demersal trawl interactions with subsea well heads and pipelines.

Dr. Hayes joined the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1997 and completed his Ph.D. in Quantitative Ecological Risk Assessment in 2000. He is currently a senior research scientist leading CSIRO’s environmental risk assessment team in the Hobart laboratories. His research interests focus on the key steps in quantitative environmental risk assessment: hazard analysis, probabilistic risk calculations, uncertainty analysis and monitoring.

Dr. Hayes and his team are currently conducting a probabilistic risk assessment of a proposal for contained field trials of dominantly sexually sterile male mosquitoes in Burkina Faso, and a systematic analysis of the hazards associated with the use of CRISPR/Cas9 to control mouse populations.

Dan Kahan, J.D.

Dan Kahan is the Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Law and Professor of Psychology at Yale Law School. He is a member of the Cultural Cognition Project, an interdisciplinary team of scholars who use empirical methods to examine the impact of group values on perceptions of risk and science communication. In studies funded by the National Science Foundation, Professor Kahan and his collaborators have investigated public dissensus over climate change, public reactions to emerging technologies, and public understandings of scientific consensus across disputed issues. Articles featuring the Project’s studies have appeared in a variety of peer-reviewed scholarly journals including the Journal of Risk Research, Judgment and Decision Making, Nature Climate Change, Science, and Nature. The Project’s current focus is on a field research to integrate insights from the science of science communication into the craft of professional science communicators in various domains, including democratic decision making, education, and popular engagement with science.

Professor Kahan is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Morven A. McLean, Ph.D.

Dr. Morven A. McLean is the Executive Director of the non-profit International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Research Foundation, where she works with a dedicated team on multi-sectoral, interdisciplinary scientific and capacity building programs that span agriculture, nutrition and the environment.

Dr. McLean first joined the ILSI Research Foundation in in 2009 as Director of the Center for Environmental Risk Assessment, and in 2013 was additionally appointed lead for sustainable agriculture and nutrition security across the ILSI organization internationally.  She has held the position of Chief of Canada’s Plant Biotechnology Office, the federal regulatory authority for the assessment and release of genetically modified plants, and was President of AGBIOS, a consultancy that works internationally with governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public and private sectors on issues of policy and regulation pertaining to genetically modified foods, crops, and forest tree species. Dr. McLean has served as a technical expert on biotechnology risk assessment, regulation and policy for many organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development, the United National Environmental Program and the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as many national governments.

Dr. McLean received her B.Sc. (Agriculture) from McGill University, M.Sc. in environmental biology from the University of Guelph, and Ph.D. in molecular plant virology from the University of British Columbia.  She completed her post-doctoral training with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada’s Vancouver Research Station.

Sue Meek, Ph.D.

Dr. Sue Meek has over 30 years of experience working in a variety of capacities at the interface of industry, academic, government and non-government entities to promote awareness and understanding of science and technology (S&T), and the formulation of policies and programs to stimulate the conduct and appropriate application of research and development (R&D).

She is currently the Principal of Sue Meek & Associates which aims to apply her accumulated experience in science communication, advocacy and policy development, and expertise in research administration, commercialisation and regulation to the benefit of institutions, organisations and the community.

Between May 2008 and July 2016 she was the Chief Executive of the Australian Academy of Science and was previously Australia’s inaugural Gene Technology Regulator from December 2001. The latter statutory appointment was established by the Australian Government to administer the national regulatory system for the development and use of genetically modified organisms. Prior to this Sue held various senior State Government positions where she was responsible for the development and implementation of policies on science and technology and public sector intellectual property management, and the administration of grant programs to support innovation and to develop research capability. In the industry sphere, Dr Meek has principally been involved with the establishment of biologically-based business ventures.

Dr. Meek is an Honorary Professor at The Australian National University (ANU) and has a Ph.D. in marine biology; an M.Sc. in oceanography; and a B.Sc. (Hons.) in microbiology. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Director of Bioplatforms Australia Ltd., and a member of the ILSI Research Foundation Board of Trustees and the ANU's Centre for Personalised Immunology Advisory Board. In 2014, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished services to science.

Keegan Sawyer, Ph.D.

Dr. Keegan Sawyer is a Senior Program Officer of the Board on Life Sciences at the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.  Her work addresses a wide range of research, policy, and communication questions across the broad spectrum of life science disciplines. She has special interest in the interplay of environmental conditions and human health, ecosystem health, and public engagement in science.  Dr. Sawyer is co-lead of the National Academies' Standing Committee on Emerging Science for Environmental Health Decisions. She recently served as the Project Director for the Roundtable on Public Interfaces of the Life Sciences and Project Director of the Committee on Gene Drives Research in Non-Human Organisms: Recommendations for Responsible Conduct. She is committed to fostering discussions about research infrastructure, collaborative environments, and public engagement in science to support a healthier people and planet.  Dr. Sawyer holds a B.S. in environmental biology from University of California Davis and an M.S. and Ph.D. in environmental sciences and engineering from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Public Health.

Delphine Thizy

Ms. Delphine Thizy is the Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Target Malaria, a non-for-profit consortium of researchers developing an innovating vector control approach to save million of lives from malaria. She has over 10 years experience in the field of stakeholder engagement in lower-income countries, with a particular attention on conflict drivers. After receiving her Masters Degree in development studies and project management from the University Pierre Mendes France (Grenoble, France), she worked in advocacy for Palestinian farmers’ rights before holding several positions within PlaNet Finance in the Middle East and South Asia. There she was responsible for technical assistance to microfinance institutions in post-conflict countries as well as leading a team for capacity strengthening of various civil society groups.

Afterwards she joined a consultancy company, Channel Research, specialising on social impact of projects. In that role, she conducted a number of project evaluations in the field of humanitarian aid and development for a variety of donors and organisations – including the European Commission, members of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and private foundations. After creating her own consultancy company, she specialised in social performance and stakeholder engagement for infrastructure and extractive industries. She led several teams for large social impact assessments across Africa.

Since 2014, she became the Stakeholder Engagement Manager of Target Malaria and works with a team in Mali, Uganda and Burkina Faso to gain public acceptance for this vector control technology. She also engages at international level with key stakeholders of the fight against malaria.

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D.

Dr. Renee Wegrzyn joined DARPA as a Program Manager in 2016. She is interested in applying the tools of synthetic biology to support biosecurity and outpace infectious disease. She is the program manager for the Living Foundries and Safe Genes programs.  Living Foundries seeks to transform biology into an engineering practice by developing the tools, technologies, methodologies, and infrastructure to increase the speed of the biological design-build-test-learn cycle while significantly decreasing the cost and expanding the complexity of systems that can be engineered. Safe Genes aims to deliver novel biological capabilities to facilitate the safe and expedient pursuit of advanced genome editing applications, while also providing the tools and methodologies to mitigate the risk of unintentional consequences or intentional misuse of these technologies.

Prior to joining DARPA as a PM, Dr. Wegrzyn was a Senior Lead Biotechnologist at Booz Allen Hamilton, where she led a team that provided scientific and strategic support in the areas of biodefense, biosecurity, disruptive technologies, emerging infectious disease, neuromodulation, and synthetic biology to DARPA and other federal and private institutions. She is a former fellow and active mentor for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Health Security "Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity" initiative. Dr. Wegrzyn also led research and development teams in the biotech industry focused on the development of multiplex immunoassays and peptide-based disease diagnostics.

Dr. Wegrzyn holds Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Science degrees in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with an undergraduate minor in Bioengineering. She completed her postdoctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Heidelberg, Germany.

Location

If you have registered to attend in person, the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Keck Center is located at 500 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001. Visitor’s parking is on the first level of the garage, PI. It is conveniently one block from the Judiciary Square metro stop.

Alternatively, if you registered to attend via webcast, please visit this page for the live recording on July 19.

Presentations

Welcome

Keegan Sawyer, Ph.D., National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (Video)

Introductions

Morven McLean, Ph.D., ILSI Research Foundation (Video(PDF) 

Setting the context for the symposium

Sue Meek, Ph.D., Sue Meek & Associates and the Australian National University (Video)

Engineering local and reversible gene drive

Bruce Hay, Ph.D., California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (Video) (PDF)

Setting a safe course for genome editing research

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D., Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) (Video)

The role of experts, experiments and data in moving gene drive risk assessment from theory to practice

Keith Hayes, Ph.D., Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (Video) (PDF)

Forecasting new technology risk perceptions: Are we there yet?

Dan Kahan, J.D., Yale Law School (Video) (PDF)

Integrating environmental risk assessment and stakeholder engagement: case study

Delphine Thizy, Target Malaria (Video) (PDF*)

*Please Note: This presentation is password protected. For more details, please reach out to dthizy@ic.ac.uk. 

Panel discussion with presenters

(Video)

View all the presentations on our Youtube Channel here.

Registration

Registration is now closed.

Social Media

Join the conversation!

Gene Drive Modified Organisms and Practical Considerations for Environmental Risk Assessments, co-organized by the ILSI Research Foundation and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, used Twitter to reach a global audience. This symposium further explored how to frame and undertake environmental risk assessments of gene drive organisms in a way that will usefully inform decision-making related to their potential release.

#genedrive17 is the preferred hashtag for the symposium. The official ILSI Research Foundation Twitter handle is @ILSIRF. The NASEM handle is @theNASEM.

Download the Social Media Toolkit here.

Example Tweets

  • What’s the potential of #genedrive organisms? @ILSIRF & @theNASEM explore enviro risk assessments for decision making at #genedrive17.
  • Research on #genedrive systems is rapidly advancing. @ILSIRF & @theNASEM tackle next steps at the July 19 symposium #genedrive17.
  • Join the conversation at #genedrive17 with @theNASEM & @ILSIRF on July 19.
  • Interested in local & reversible #genedrives. Listen in to Dr. Hay @Caltech via LIVE webcast 7/19. #genedrive17 www.ilsirf.org/event/genedrives_july2017
  • How do we set a #safe course for genome editing #research? Dr. Wegrzyn @DARPA tackles this topic at #genedrive17. www.ilsirf.org/event/genedrives_july2017
  • Hear Dr.Hayes @CSIROnews explore the role of #data to move #genedrive risk assessment from theory to practice. www.ilsirf.org/event/genedrives_july2017
  • “Are we there yet??” @cult_cognition Dr. Kahan of @YaleLawSch forecasts new #tech risk perception! #genedrive17 www.ilsirf.org/event/genedrives_july2017
  • How do you integrate enviro risk & #stakeholder engagement? Listen in on July 19 1-5pm EST #genedrive17 www.ilsirf.org/event/genedrives_july2017

Speaker Presentations

Dr. Keegan Sawyer

Welcome

Dr. Morven McLean

Introduction

Download the Presentation

Dr. Sue Meek

Setting the context for the symposium

Dr. Bruce Hay

Engineering local and reversible gene drive

Download the Presentation

Dr. Renee Wegrzyn

Setting a safe course for genome editing research

Dr. Keith Hayes

The role of experts, experiments and data in moving gene drive risk assessment from theory to practice

Download the Presentation

Dr. Dan Kahan

Forecasting new technology risk perceptions: Are we there yet?

Download the Presentation

Ms. Delphine Thizy

Integrating environmental risk assessment and stakeholder engagement: case study

Download the Presentation*

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion included Dr. Bruce Hay, Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, Dr. Keith Hayes, Dr. Dan Kahan and Ms. Delphine Thizy. It was moderated by Dr. Sue Meek.

*Please Note: This presentation is password protected. For more details, please reach out to dthizy@ic.ac.uk. 

Missed the symposium but want to watch all the recordings in order?

Watch the ILSI RF Playlist

Speakers

Bruce Hay, Ph.D.

California Institute of Technology (Caltech)

Keith Hayes, Ph.D.

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

Dan Kahan, J.D.

Yale Law School

Morven McLean, Ph.D.

ILSI Research Foundation

Sue Meek, Ph.D.

Sue Meek & Associates and The Australian National University (Moderator)

Keegan Sawyer, Ph.D.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Delphine Thizy

Target Malaria

Renee Wegrzyn, Ph.D.

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

Symposium Photos

Relevant Content

Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values

Research on gene drive systems is rapidly advancing. Many proposed applications of gene drive research aim to solve environmental and public health challenges, including the reduction of poverty and the burden of vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue, which disproportionately impact low and middle income countries. However, due to their intrinsic qualities of rapid spread and irreversibility, gene drive systems raise many questions with respect to their safety relative to public and environmental health. Because gene drive systems are designed to alter the environments we share in ways that will be hard to anticipate and impossible to completely roll back, questions about the ethics surrounding use of this research are complex and will require very careful exploration.

Download the NASEM Report

Results from the Workshop “Problem Formulation for the Use of Gene Drive in Mosquitoes”

Reducing the incidence of malaria has been a public health priority for nearly a century. New technologies and associated vector control strategies play an important role in the prospect of sustained reductions. The development of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system has generated new possibilities for the use of gene-drive constructs to reduce or alter vector populations to reduce malaria incidence. However, before these technologies can be developed and exploited, it will be necessary to understand and assess the likelihood of any potential harms to humans or the environment. To begin this process, the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health and the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation organized an expert workshop to consider the potential risks related to the use of gene drives in Anopheles gambiae for malaria control in Africa. The resulting discussion yielded a series of consensus points that are reported here.

Download the ILSI RF Report

Twitter Feed

#genedrive17 Tweets

Media Coverage

How will we keep controversial gene drive technology in check? -Article from Science Magazine

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Proposed Criteria for Identifying GE Crop Plants That Pose a Low or Negligible Risk to the Environment Under Conditions of Low-Level Presence in Seed

The low-level presence (LLP) of genetically engineered (GE) seeds that have been approved in the country of origin but not the country of import presents challenges for regulators in both seed importing and exporting countries, as well as for the international seed trade and the farmers who rely on it.

Read more

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Legacy Work

Strengthening the Capacity of Developing Countries in Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation

The Partnership for Biosafety Risk Assessment and Regulation (PBRAR) was active from 2011-2014, and was supported by a US $1.2 million grant from the Development Grant Facility of the World Bank. The Partnership was comprised of the ILSI Research Foundation, the Environment Directorate of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, and eight developing countries that have adopted, or are considering the adoption of, agricultural biotechnology.

In each of the partner countries, the PBRAR sought to strengthen the technical capacity of stakeholders engaged in biosafety risk assessment and regulation so as to facilitate evidence-based decision making.

Pakistan Grants Program: Scientific Support for Regulatory Decision Making

The Biosafety Research in Pakistan Grants Program, managed by the ILSI Research Foundation, supported research projects designed to improve understanding about environmental impacts of genetically engineered crops relevant to agricultural production in Pakistan.

Active from 2012-2014, 16 grantees from academic institutions worked to investigate the potential effects of genetically engineered crops on the agro-ecosystem, and build a knowledgeable community of practice to facilitate regulatory decision-making in Pakistan.