The Future of Medicine

Date: 22nd October, 2015
Start Time: 17:00 hrs
Venue: Selwyn College, Cambridge

Eventbrite - The Future of Medicine 

Medical research, drug development and healthcare are always at the forefront of public interest, but how will these practices change in the future? Should we expect cases like to appear again? In this first Cambridge University Science & Policy Exchange public lecture of the 2015/2016 academic year, The Future of Medicine, we look to explore both the achievements and challenges in genetic, epigenetic and genomic research and related public policy development which will influence the future of human health in the UK.

Speakers joining us on the evening will bring perspectives from academic and clinical research, the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries and government policy development. The audience will hear how genetic, epigenetic and genomic research can influence the diagnosis and treatment of rare and hereditary diseases, promote increased understanding of common, complex disorders like obesity and Type 2 diabetes and influence public policy to benefit human health in the future. Discussion will include the government-funded 100K genomes initiative.

The lecture will be followed by a wine reception.

Speakers for this policy debate include:

Dr Mark Bale

Deputy Head of Health Science and Bioethics, Department of Health; Deputy Chief Scientific Advisor, Department of Health; Policy Fellow, Centre for Science and Policy

Dr Mark Bale is responsible for, and leads on a number of key emerging science healthcare areas and their ethical, legal and policy implications.  His current priorities are supporting the delivery of the Prime Minister’s 100K genomes initiative, which includes the establishment of Genomics England to deliver the project, and working closely with NHS England and Health Education England.
The wider priorities of the Department of Health include stem cells, embryology and assisted conception, human organs and tissue, screening and early diagnosis, sexual health, rare diseases and regenerative medicine.  The division also has responsibility for the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, NHS Blood and Transplant, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and the Human Tissue Authority.
Mark has led on genetics and genomics since 2004 and was formerly the Secretary to the Human Genetics Commission. He has a research background in microbial genetics and joined the Department of Health in 1999 after working on the occupational safety of GMOs and pathogens.  Mark also represents the UK on bioethics and biotechnology at the Council of Europe and OECD. He is the Vice-Chair of the Bioethics subcommittee of the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Committee.

Dr Nessa Carey

International Director at PraxisUnico

 Nessa Carey is a former academic who worked for 13 years in a variety of senior positions in the biotech and pharma sectors.  Her roles mainly involved finding and creating links between academia and industry to drive impact from basic research. She is International Director at PraxisUnico, the influential network that supports professionals working in Knowledge Exchange and Commercialisation.  Nessa is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College and also serves on a number of research council committees. 

Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly FRS FMedSci

Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine; Director, University of Cambridge Metabolic Research Laboratories; Director, MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit and Co-Director, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science

Stephen O’Rahilly is Professor of Clinical Biochemistry and Medicine at the University of Cambridge and Honorary Consultant Physician at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He led the establishment of the WT-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, which he now co-directs. He is Scientific Director of the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. He qualified in Medicine from University College Dublin and undertook post-graduate training in London, Oxford and Boston before setting up his laboratory in Cambridge in 1991. He has sought to better understand the molecular mechanisms leading to diabetes, obesity and related metabolic and endocrine disorders. He remains active in clinical practice and in the teaching of medical students. He has won many national and international awards including the Heinrich Wieland Prize, the Inbev Baillet Latour Prize, the Zülch Prize and the first EASD/Novo Nordisk Foundation Diabetes Prize for Excellence.  He was elected to the Royal Society in 2003, a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences USA in 2011 and is an Honorary Member of the German Society for Internal Medicine.  He was appointed a Knight Bachelor in 2013.  He is also a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Dr Hilary Burton

Director of the PHG Foundation

Dr Hilary Burton is a consultant in public health medicine, the Director and one of the founder members of the PHG Foundation and a Fellow of Hughes Hall, Cambridge. The PHG Foundation is a not for profit organisation with a special focus on how genomic and other technologies can provide more effective personalised healthcare and improve population health. Hilary has led work on the implementation of genomics in mainstream health services in the UK, work which includes appraisals of new technologies, review of service provision and the development of clinical applications for whole genome sequencing, in inherited disease and infectious diseases. She is currently chairman of a working group led by the Royal College of Physicians focused on preparing medical specialties for genomic medicine.


Following short talks from the invited speakers there will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and we invite all attendees to join us for an informal drinks reception after the seminar.

For those with particular interest in a relevant area, there will an opportunity to attend the post-seminar dinner with the speakers and CUSPE committee members.  If you wish to apply, you will be prompted in the registration form to submit a short paragraph (max. 200 words) describing your interest in The Future of Medicine in relation to topic-relevant research and policy development and to include a question that you would like to ask the panel. Successful applicants will be notified during the week prior to the event.

This policy debate is generously sponsored by Medimmune, the biologics arm of Astra Zeneca.