Alpha Eta Mu Beta, National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society

AEMB Annual Ethics Sessions Documents

2015 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Ethics Session
Date : Friday 8th October 2015
Location : Tampa Convention Center, Room 25
Start Time : 9.00am - 10.00am
Session Chairs : Robert D. Frisina, PhD, Bhavit Vora, MS.
Title :  Genomic Testing and Personalized Medicine, to what extent is knowing a good thing ?

Today’s biomedical engineers are advancing many technical areas of bioengineering at a very rapid pace. Impacts of recent and ongoing advances in tissue engineering and microelectronic fabrication are revolutionizing progress in the arenas of personalized medicine, especially with regards to molecular genetics and genomic testing. Technological progress in these areas have significantly improved quality of care and the efficacy of treatment. However, one of the professional conundrums in the area of genomic testing pertains to moral and ethical challenges, especially with regards to newborns and children. The basic dilemma here focuses upon the decisions that parents have to make for their young children, since children cannot make the decision themselves, about how much genetic testing should be carried out, and what can or should be done with the results of that genetic testing. Genomic testing in children is becoming faster, more efficient and less expensive. So, now instead of testing for a few obvious genes for children who are born with birth defects, possible genetic syndromes, or easily diagnosed problems such as hearing loss or deafness, genetic screening immediately on the horizon will be able to screen for mutations in hundreds or thousands of genes routinely. So, for example, what if a newborn is discovered to have a gene that causes an age-related disorder such as Alzheimer’s Disease? Should the parents be told? Should the child be told when they are old enough to know? What is the point of telling the family now, when there are still no preventative or curative treatments of Alzheimer’s? Should it go in the child’s medical record, where future employers, insurance companies or hackers can gain access to it? And you can imagine a number of biomedical scenarios where it is not obvious what to do with genetic information such as this. Another challenging issue is how to obtain the necessary blood samples from a newborn, which has a relatively small blood volume. Umbilical cord blood has been mentioned as a good source, since the umbilical cord is normally cut (sometimes by the proud Father) and discarded with the placenta. However, even this seemingly innocent, harmless procedure has now been called into question as some new evidence suggests that babies do better when the cord blood is allowed to flow into the baby for awhile, precluding a quick cutting of the cord, as has traditionally been done. So, as biomedical engineers work with nurses, doctors, insurance companies and other players in our healthcare system, these issues will come up without clear-cut answers avalable to them.

Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB), the International Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, is committed to promoting ethics in the field of biomedical engineering. This year, AEMB is honored to host Dr. Robert D. Frisina. Dr. Frisina is a Professor and Director of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and also the director for the Communication Sciences and Disorders lab at the University of South Florida. In addition, Dr. Frisina is the director of the Global Center for Hearing and Speech Research and holds joint appointments as Professor at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (one of two colleges for the deaf in the world), and at the University of Buffalo Center for Hearing and Deafness. Dr. Frisina’s research is focused on the function and disorders of the auditory system, more specifically in the critical areas of hearing loss and deadness for which there are is no existing cure. More information about Dr. Frisina can be found at his official website (

A report on this session can be obtained from here

2014 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Ethics Session

Date : Friday 24th October 2014
Location : Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, San Antonio, Room 002AB
Start Time : 9.00am - 10.00am
Session Chairs : Anson Joo L. Ong, PhD. and Rupak Dua, PhD.
Title :  Ethics in TIssue-Biomaterials Engineering

Tissue-biomaterials interactions have always been in the mind of researchers when focusing on developing or modifying biomaterials and tissue engineering constructs for optimal properties.  These newly developed or modified materials are often evaluated in cell culture systems or in animal models.  As a result, ethical issues related to biomaterials and tissue engineering research needs to be considered during their testing phase.  Ethical concerns in pre-clinical testing have always involved the types of tissues or cells used.  Self-regulated oversights have been provided at institutions to ensure compliance of the US federal law and to oversee animal care and use within the institutions.  As funding is also shifting from federal agencies to the biomedical industries, other potential ethical concerns have also emerged, including conflict of interest between the industry and the researchers.  These conflicts are often managed by the investigator’s institution.  As such, it is imperative that researchers are aware of the moral and ethical concerns prior to embarking on their experimental designs.
Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB), the National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, is committed to promoting ethics in the field of biomedical engineering. This year, AEMB is honored to host
Anson Joo L. Ong, Ph.D. is currently the USAA Distinguished Professor and Chairman for the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas at San Antonio.  He is also the Program Director for the Joint Graduate Program in Biomedical Engineering as well as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  Aside from his current academic appointments, Dr. Ong is also the Associate Editor for the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research, Part B.  He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1987, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990 and 1994, respectively.
Dr. Ong’s primary research interests focus the modification and characterization of the implant biomaterials surfaces for dental and orthopedic applications, modification of tissue engineered ceramic scaffolds, protein-biomaterials interactions, and bone-biomaterials interactions.  His work has been funded by the National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, the Whitaker Foundation, Implant Dentistry Research and Education Foundation, Academy of Prosthodontics, American Association for Dental Research, and US Army, as well as numerous biomedical industries. Dr. Ong has authored/co-authored over 100 articles published in refereed journals and over 200 conference abstracts.  In addition, he has given invited lectures and keynote lectures at national and international meetings, served as a manuscript reviewer for several biomedical engineering related scientific journals, and continues to serve as a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundations, Department of Defense, and other international funding agencies. Dr. Ong has served on numerous committees in professional societies, including the Society for Biomaterials, Biomedical Engineering Society, and the International Association for Dental Research.  He is currently on the editorial board of several biomedical related journals and was the Past Program Chair for the Society for Biomaterials and the Past President of the Implantology Research Group in the International Association for Dental Research.

2013 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Ethics Session

Date : Friday 27th September 2013
Location : Washington State Convention Center, Room 303
Start Time : 9.00am - 10.00am
Session Chairs : James B. Bassingthwaighte, MD., PhD. and Rupak Dua, MS.
Title :  The Importance of Reproducibility in Research Publishing (Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Ethics Session).
Summary :
Publishing is an important bridge that brings cutting edge research from the lab to the outside world. The ability to fully reproduce research results and implement methods is of the utmost importance. In this talk, we explore the current guidelines in place, the importance of access to experiment data, methods on how to validate and obtain reproducible result, and explore the technology that is available to facilitate this process in an efficient manner.
Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB), the National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, is committed to promoting ethics in the field of biomedical engineering. This year, AEMB is honored to host Dr. James B. Bassingthwaighte. Dr. Bassingthwaighte is a Professor of Bioengineering with joint appointments in the departments of Biomathematics and Radiology at the University of Washington. He is an active teacher and internationally known researcher focused on bioengineering and quantitative and integrative approaches to cardiovascular physiology. He received his MD in from the University of Toronto, and completed a residency in Medicine and Cardiology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he also earned a Ph.D. in Physiology. Dr. Bassingthwaighte is the originator of the Human Physiome Project, a large-scale international program for developing data basing and biological systems modeling for understanding genomic and pharmaceutic effects on human physiology. His program is highly collaborative, involving co-investigators at a dozen U.S. universities, several in Europe, and in 14 departments at the University of Washington.

For more information on Dr. Bassingthwaighte and his research, please visit his official site
For a copy of Dr. Bassingthwaighte's presentation please click here. Please use and distribute as needed, but remember to credit Dr. Bassignthwaighte and cite his talk appropriately.

2012 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Ethics Session
Date : Friday 26th October 2012
Location : A310 at the Georgia World Congress Center
Start Time : 9.30am - 10.30am
Session Chairs : Paul R. Wolpe, Ph.D. and Dominic E. Nathan, Ph.D.
Title : Is my Mind Mine ? Neuroscience, Privacy, and the Self
Summary :
For the first time in human history, we are developing the ability to apprehend information directly from the brain. Brain imaging and allied technologies now allow scientists a glimpse into the subjective thoughts and inner dialogues that have always been private and inaccessible to others. By doing so, they are forever changing the very idea of privacy, raising thorny questions about who should have access to our innermost thoughts. In this talk, we explore the implications of brain imaging not only for personal privacy, but also for legal questions such as Fifth Amendment protections.

Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB), the National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, is committed to promoting ethics in the field of biomedical engineering. This year, AEMB is honored to host Dr. Paul Root Wolpe, Director of the Center of Ethics and a professor in the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Sociology at Emory University. Dr. Wolpe is also the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Bioethics and the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair in Jewish Bioethics. Dr. Wolpe serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience and is the first Senior Bioethicist for NASA, where he is responsible for formulating policy on bioethical issues and safeguarding research subjects. An accomplished professional in the field, Dr. Wolpe has over 125 articles, editorials and book chapters in sociology, medicine and bioethics and has appeared on numerous broadcasts and printed media, both nationally and internationally.

For more information on Dr. Wolpe and his research, please visit his official site
To view a copy of the video please click here

2012 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta Special Topics Session
Date : Friday 26th October 2012
Location : A313 at the Georgia World Congress Center
Start Time : 2.45pm - 3.45pm
Session Chairs : Jerry Collins, Ph.D., Gilda Barabino, Ph.D. and Fred Gray
Title : Disparities and Inequalities in Healthcare
Summary :
BMES and AEMB have helped put together a special session for the 2012 BMES meeting addressing health care discrepancies facing African Americans. Distinguished panel members include: Atty. Fred Gray, counsel for Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, and the survivors of the Tuskegee Syphilis study; Dr. Camara Jones of the Center for Disease Control; and Dr. Gilda Barabino, professor and associate chair of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech and president-elect of the Biomedical Engineering Society. Respondents include Dr. Cato Laurencin, CEO of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science and Director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering, and Dr. Raphael Lee, Paul S. and Ailene T. Professor of Surgery, Medicine, Organismal Biology & Anatomy, and Molecular Medicine at the University of Chicago and president of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. The session will be chaired by Dr. Jerry Collins, AEMB Board of Directors member and chair of the Ethics Committee of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

To view a copy of the video please click here

2012 Annual Alpha Eta Mu Beta and AIMBE Joint Public Policy Session
Date : Friday 26th October 2012
Location : A313 at the Georgia World Congress Center
Start Time : 1.00pm - 2.00pm
Session Chairs : Teresa Murray, Ph.D. and Sean Gallagher, M.S.
Title : Student Session: How Recent Legislation and Presidential Decisions Affect You
Summary :
How will recent legislation by the US Congress and decisions by the President impact the biomedical engineering field? How could this affect public health? Moreover, how can you influence policy-making? Find the answers at this informative session co-hosted by Alpha Eta Mu Beta (AEMB), the National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). AIMBE is the leading voice for public policy supporting medical and biological engineering innovation to improve public health. During this session, we will demonstrate how advocacy for the profession and the field can have important personal impact and ensure public policy continues to support our work. Furthermore, you will learn about the different types of government funding, how levels have changed, what impact that will have on our field and what you can do to influence policy-makers.

To view a copy of the video please click here


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