NEWS (back to top)
CSTL MEMBER NEWS (back to top)
CSTL Welcomes New Co-Chairs and Members
CSTL 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
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
At 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
CSTL Forensic Science Committee Member to Speak at Inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival
At 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
Judge 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 http://media.nap.edu/podcasts.
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 www.ted.com. 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.
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.
Dr. 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
In 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
On 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
In 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.