NC State University professor Jennifer Kuzma will lend her expertise to a national committee studying the future of genetic engineering.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine recently named Kuzma to the Committee on Future Biotechnology Products and Opportunities to Enhance Capabilities of the Biotechnology Regulatory System.
As part of the 13-member group, Kuzma will help identify trends and products likely to emerge in biotechnology during the next 5-10 years. The committee will report its findings to federal agencies and advise them on what scientific capabilities, tools and expertise may be useful to the regulatory agencies to support oversight of potential future products of biotechnology.
Kuzma, the co-director of NC State’s Genetic Engineering and Society Center, brings more than 25 years of related research experience to the NAS committee. As the Goodnight-North Carolina GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Distinguished Professor in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, Kuzma studies governance systems for emerging technologies, particularly genetic engineering for environmental, agricultural, health and industrial applications.
She has authored more than 100 scholarly articles in the field of science and technology policy and has previously lent her expertise to groups such as the Society for Risk Analysis, Food and Drug Administration Blood Products Advisory Committee and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization-World Health Organization Expert Group for Nanotechnologies in Food and Agriculture.
Prior to entering academe, Kuzma served as program and study director for several NAS reports related to biotechnology governance and bioterrorism as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Risk Policy Fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The origin of the current NAS project traces back to the White House, which called for the biotechnology study last summer. In a memo to the heads of the FDA, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and USDA, President Barack Obama’s chief science adviser John Holdren asked for an independent, external analysis highlighting “new risks and frameworks for risk assessment” and “areas in which the risks or lack of risks relating to the products of biotechnology are well understood.”
The study will also examine whether potential future products could pose different types of risks relative to existing products and organisms.
“The review will help inform future policy making,” Holdren said in the memo. “Due to the rapid pace of change in this arena, an external analysis should be completed at least every five years.”
For more information on the NAS committee and its goals, go to nas-sites.org/biotech.