On October 9, SDFAS had the opportunity to welcome a French scientist, Jean-François Briand, who is doing research on genetic mutations and rare diseases — work which is supported by a joint MLF – Telethon project. He was in town for the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society conference and, as part of the “1,000 chercheurs dans les écoles” project in France, offered to give a presentation to our 8th graders.
While the topics are complex, Mr. Briand adapted his presentation to our very attentive 8th graders and included video and other visuals to illustrate the concepts. Mr. Briand’s presentation comes at a very fortuitous time, given that our 8th graders are currently studying genetics in Science with Ms. Jacoway, and also participating in a cross-curricular project with Mr. G., wherein they will debate the ethical questions surrounding genetic manipulation.
Following the debate, the 8th graders will have the opportunity to learn from another guest speaker and longtime member of the SDFAS community, Dr. Diego Miralles. Dr. Miralles will focus his talk on the ethics of genetic therapy and engineering, and will introduce a new perspective to the students, which will inspire continuous dialogue and learning even after their unit has concluded!