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October 2010
Volume 1, Issue 2




      CSTL Member News

      CSTL Events

      CSTL Impact

Activities In Progress
Future Activities



We are pleased to present the latest issue of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law newsletter, a semi-annual report on the activities, projects, and people of the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Science, Technology, and Law (CSTL).


CSTL was established by the National Academy of Sciences in 1998 to examine the growing number of areas where science, engineering, and law intersect in this era of increasing globalization. It is the only national committee that brings leading figures in science, engineering, and medicine together with members of the legal and policy communities for discussions about critical issues of mutual interest and concern.  CSTL meets bi-annually in a roundtable setting that provides a unique forum for intellectual inquiry and debate.  Through its reports and activities, CSTL brings widespread attention to issues of pressing national and international concern. The committee considers challenging issues at the nexus of science and law from two perspectives: (1) how law influences and constrains the practice of scientific and engineering research (law in the laboratory) and (2) how scientists and engineers participate in, and how their work is used by, the legal community (science in the courts).


For more information on CSTL, visit our website at



Managing University Intellectual Property in the Public Interest

Managing University Intellectual Propery in the Public Interest

Project Information

Press Release


Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a Workshop

Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing: Summary of a Workshop

Project Information


Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward

Project Information

Evaluation of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

Evaluation of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence

Project Information


NEWS (back to top)

CSTL MEMBER NEWS (back to top)

CSTL Welcomes New Co-Chairs and Members

CSTL Co-Chairs David Korn and Richard MeserveCSTL begins its second decade under the stewardship of new co-chairs David Korn (Vice Provost for Research, Harvard University - pictured left) and Richard A. Meserve (President, Carnegie Institution for Science and Senior of Counsel, Covington & Burling LLP - pictured right).  Drs. Korn and Meserve are founding members of CSTL.  In addition to its co-chairs, CSTL welcomes new members John Burris (President, Burroughs Wellcome Fund), Arturo Casadevall (Leo and Julia Forchheimer Professor of Microbiology and Immunology; Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; and Professor, Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine), Drew Endy (Assistant Professor, Bioengineering, Stanford University and President, BioBricks Foundation), Marcus Feldman (Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Biology, Stanford University), Jason Grumet (President, Bipartisan Policy Center), Prabhu Pingali (Deputy Director of Agricultural Development, Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and Sophie Vandebroek (Chief Technology Officer and President, Xerox Innovation Group, Xerox Corporation).

CSTL Member Frederick Anderson Receives American Bar Association Award for Excellence in Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship

CSTL Member Frederick R. Anderson, Jr.On October 1, 2010, Frederick R. Anderson, Jr., Partner, McKenna, Long, & Aldridge LLP, received the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources' Award for Excellence in Environmental, Energy, and Resources Stewardship. The award recognizes and honors the accomplishments of a person, organization, or group that has distinguished itself in environmental, energy, and resources stewardship.  Mr. Anderson was selected for this honor based on his sustained leadership and innovation in the development of the field of environmental law and policy for more than 40 years.  "We are proud to see Fred recognized by the ABA with this prestigious award," said McKenna Chairman Jeff Haidet.  "His remarkable record in law practice and commitment to environmental resources and public policy thought leadership have greatly benefited our clients and the legal community."  

CSTL Member Alice Gast Named U.S. Science Envoy for Central Asia

CSTL Member Alice GastAt the September 16, 2010 presentation of the George Brown Awards for International Scientific Cooperation, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar announced that CSTL member Alice Gast had been named U.S. Science Envoy for Central Asia.  The U.S. Science Envoy Program, announced by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in November 2009, stimulates global engagement in science and technology by enabling highly respected American scientists to build international relationships and help identify opportunities for sustained cooperation among nations.

CSTL EVENTS (back to top)

October 2010 CSTL Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law will be held on October 25-26, 2010 in Washington, DC.  The meeting will feature panel discussions of the following topics: 1) Reorganizing/Rethinking Science Policy and Infrastructure to Meet the Challenges of the Future 2) Are New Developments in Biomedical Research and Healthcare Challenging our Notions of Privacy and Informed Consent? 3) Legalization of Drugs 4) Are Our Environmental Laws Compatible with Sustainability?  For more information about the October and future meetings, please contact Steven Kendall at 202-334-1713 or

CSTL Forensic Science Committee Member to Speak at Inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival

USA Science & Engineering Festival LogoAt the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, attorney Marvin Schechter, a member of the committee that wrote the CSTL report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States, will speak at a National Academy of Sciences sponsored session on forensic science.  The session, The Scoop on Crime Scene Investigation: Separating Fact from Fiction, will go behind the scenes of CSI Miami with a writer from the show and then compare what happens on TV to what happens in the courtroom as Schechter explains how science is used to free defendants who have been wrongly convicted.  The session will be held at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 23 and Sunday, October 24, 2010 in Tent #102 on the National Mall.  The tent will be located in front of the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool on Third Street, NW, Washington, DC.

CSTL Forensic Science Committee Co-Chair Interviewed for the National Academies' Sounds of Science Podcast Series

National Academies Sounds of Science LogoJudge Harry Edwards, co-chair of the committee that wrote the 2009 CSTL report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States, was recently interviewed for the National Academies' Sounds of Science Podcast Series.  Look for the interview in late October at


CSTL Forensic Science Committee Member Makes "TED" Presentation at National Academies Summer Communications Fair

On July 21, Geoffrey Mearns (Provost, Cleveland State University and former federal prosecutor) was a featured presenter at a session of the 2010 National Academies Communications Fair. Hosted by Kelly Stoetzel, TED's Content Producer, the session was designed to highlight Academies' content using the engaging style of TED (short for Technology, Entertainment, Design) - a nonprofit organization that compiles "riveting talks by remarkable people" and broadcasts them "free to the world" at  Mearns was a member of the committee that wrote the CSTL report Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States , and his "TED Tryout" provided compelling insight into how the National Academies' committee process affected his understanding of forensic science and challenged many of his long held beliefs about the science behind forensic science.

Tom Kalil and David Blumenthal Speak at Spring CSTL Meeting

At the May 2010 meeting of the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law, Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services addressed the committee. 

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

In his formal remarks, Mr. Kalil reflected upon the Obama Administration's Open Government Directive and National Innovation Strategy.  Following his presentation, Mr. Kalil and CSTL members engaged in a discussion of topics including technology transfer policy, public engagement in government, and biomedical research. 

David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesDr. David Blumenthal briefed CSTL on the implementation of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act.  Topics of subsequent discussion included the management and security of digitized health information, the capabilities and interoperability of healthcare technologies, and the role of the research community in the creation of an electronic health infrastructure.

CSTL IMPACT (back to top)

Human Dosing in Pesticide Experiments

Intentional Human Dosing Studies for EPA Regulatory Purposes: Scientific and Ethical IssuesIn response to a lawsuit by public health groups, farm worker advocates and environmental organizations, the Environmental Protection Agency recently agreed to rewrite a 2006 rule governing the use of human test subjects in pesticide experiments.  Proposed changes will address, among other criteria, the rule's consistency with the recommendations of the 2004 CSTL report Intentional Human Dosing Studies for EPA Regulatory Purposes: Scientific and Ethical Issues


Export Controls and National Security

Science and Security in a Post 9/11 WorldOn August 30, 2010, in response to a broad-based interagency review, the Obama Administration outlined a plan to fundamentally reform the U.S. export control system.  The proposed reforms are intended to strengthen "national security by focusing efforts on controlling the most critical products and technologies and by enhancing the competitiveness of key U.S. manufacturing and technology sectors."  Regular reviews of U.S. export control policy had been a key recommendation of the 2007 CSTL report, Science in Security in a Post 9/11 World (see Recommendation 4).  This is the second major report recommendation adopted by the government.  Earlier, in 2008, after consultation with the report's co-chairs, the Department of Defense issued a memorandum to implement a report recommendation that urged government agencies to abide by the principles of NSDD-189 in the formulation and standardization of policies related to the contracting of fundamental research (see Recommendation 1).

Massachusetts Judge Nancy Gertner Cites CSTL Forensic Science Report in Landmark Procedural Order on Trace Evidence

Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path ForwardIn a March 2010 Procedural Order, Judge Nancy Gertner of the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts ordered defense lawyers and prosecutors not to assume that the forensic evidence routinely accepted in the courts for decades is reliable. Defense lawyers, she wrote, should vigorously challenge fingerprints, bullet identification, handwriting, and other trace evidence, and prosecutors should be prepared to show it is valid.  CSTL's 2009 report, Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States , she noted, concluded that forensic evidence used to convict thousands of defendants for nearly a century is hardly the infallible proof of police procedurals on television. Spurred by the report and criminal cases she has presided over, Gertner wrote that the validity of such evidence "ought not to be presumed'' and that defense attorneys should challenge it at pretrial hearings, or explain why they do not.

Source: Saltzman, Jonathan, "US Judge Urges Skepticism on Forensic Evidence," Boston Globe, March 29, 2010.



The Third Edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. At the request of the Federal Judicial Center, CSTL is developing the third edition of the Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence. The Reference Manual has become a primary reference source for federal judges for scientific questions arising in litigation, and is used not only by federal judges, but by state judges, attorneys, legal scholars, and law students. The manual provides a balanced presentation of the fundamental principles of scientific methodology in areas likely to arise in expert testimony. The Reference Manual committee is co-chaired by the Honorable Gladys Kessler (Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) and Jerome Kassirer (Distinguished Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of the New England Journal of Medicine ). The project is funded by the Starr Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York.  For more information, visit


Review of the Scientific Approaches used during the FBI's Investigation of the 2001 Bacillus anthracis Mailings. In response to a request from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), CSTL, in collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Life Sciences (BLS), is conducting an independent review of the scientific approaches used during the investigation of the 2001 Bacillus anthracis mailings. The study committee-under the leadership of Alice Gast  (President, Lehigh University) and David Relman (Professor of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine)-is evaluating the scientific foundation for the specific techniques used by the FBI to determine whether these techniques met appropriate standards for scientific reliability and for use in forensic validation. The committee has been given access to the scientific studies and analyses performed in connection with the 2001 Bacillus anthracis mailings. A report of the committee's findings will be issued in late 2010.  For more information, visit

FUTURE ACTIVITIES  (back to top)


Global Research Institutions.  CSTL and the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP) propose to organize three symposia to examine current cooperative models among global research universities. The symposia will examine four aspects of global research universities at the institutional, national, and international levels: 1) partnership models and mechanisms; 2) legal and regulatory aspects; 3) governance and quality; and 4) diplomatic and economic development. Symposia will be held in Asia, the Middle East, and the United States--regions experiencing a rapid growth in global research university partnerships. The symposia in Asia and the Middle East will survey the alliances among global research universities in science, engineering, and medicine. The symposium in the United States will summarize the collected data and discuss themes that have arisen at all three symposia. The meeting discussions will be informed by commissioned papers, data collection and analyses. The symposium series is expected to provide a deeper understanding of transnational university partnerships in research and higher education and to provide ideas for university, industry, and government leaders.  Following the series, a summary of the three symposia will be issued. 

Synthetic Biology. In collaboration with the National Academy of Engineering, the British Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering, CSTL intends to organize three high-level international symposia to address next-generation policy challenges for synthetic biology.  Symposia will be held in the United States, Britain, and China.  Each symposium will concentrate on specific groups of issues with the aim of building on and adding value to international synthetic biology-related discussions currently underway.  The proposed project follows upon earlier CSTL work in the field of synthetic biology - most notably a 2009 international symposium organized by CSTL in the summer of 2009.



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Committee on Science, Technology, and Law
The National Academies
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