KAIST forum to ask big questions about the impact of Covid-19

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KAIST forum to ask big questions about the impact of Covid-19

From left: Victor J. Dzau, Thomas Frey, George McDonald Church, Susan Tousi, Kim Kwang-soo

From left: Victor J. Dzau, Thomas Frey, George McDonald Church, Susan Tousi, Kim Kwang-soo

The long-term implications and strategies for navigating major events like the coronavirus sometimes fail to gain attention, as people tend to be more preoccupied with the daily updates and fatalities of the pandemic.
KAIST, a prestigious science and technology-oriented research university, intends to dig into the high-stakes agenda — such as how the coronavirus will affect future fights against infectious diseases and even our lifespans — in an online forum on Sept. 9.
As keynote speaker, Thomas Frey, a prominent U.S. futurist, will suggest how humans can overcome new diseases like the coronavirus by leveraging digital innovation.  
He will also explore the impact that a recent advancement in the bioengineering sector will have on mankind’s efforts to put an end to infectious diseases and whether it will lengthen our lives.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun will present the government’s plan to facilitate the development of vaccines and treatment against the pandemic.
In line with the policy discussion, Victor J. Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine in the United States, will share ideal policies to support the bioengineering and medical sectors during the post-pandemic era.  
The Chinese-American doctor and academic will also provide his views on how to respond to the second wave of the pandemic, drawing on his experience in the United States.  
Genetic engineering technology represents another pillar of the forum hosted by the Global Strategy Institute at KAIST.
Harvard University geneticist George McDonald Church will delve into the current state of genome sequencing techniques and discuss the method’s role in preventing diseases and increasing lifespan.
He will also touch upon a gene editing technology called Crispr-Cas9.
Named the “Breakthrough of the Year” by Science magazine in 2015, the technology allows doctors to cut, replace and alter genes with unprecedented ease and accuracy relatively cheaply using an enzyme called Cas9 and a guide RNA that helps the enzyme target the right site.
Viewers could get a practical insight into genome sequencing from a speech delivered by Susan Tousi, senior vice president at San Diego-based llumina, one of the largest genetic testing companies.  
She will bring actual cases where genetic analysis helps prevent the occurrence of disease.
Other speakers include Kim Kwang-soo, a psychiatry and neuroscience professor at Harvard Medical School, Lee Jin-hyung, a neurology professor at Stanford University, Vera Gorbunova, a biology professor at the University of Rochester, Lee Jung-ho, a professor at the Graduate School of Medical Science and Engineering at KAIST and David Resnik, an American bioethicist working at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
BY PARK EUN-JEE   [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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