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What Is a Population? Investigating Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry in Genomics Research and Clinical

April 7, 2021 - 4:00pm to 5:20pm
Zoom event - ONLINE-ONLY EVENT LIMITED TO STANFORD STUDENTS, FACULTY, AND STAFF. ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED WITH A STANFORD EMAIL ADDRESS.

Alice Popejoy is a Stanford postdoctoral scholar who studies biomedical data sciences, and speaks to the role — and pitfalls — of race, ethnicity and ancestry in research.In clinical research, scientists often invoke race, ethnicity and ancestry to better understand underlying factors that contribute to disease, even when the connection is not quite clear. This approach is prevalent in clinical genetics, a field of study that harnesses genetic testing to understand aspects of a patient’s personal health. But while race- or ancestry-based information can play an important role in health research — such as ensuring a particular clinical study represents diverse populations — its use in science can be misguided. Popejoy studies the intersection of public health and genetics. Including race, ethnicity or ancestry in a scientific study can produce misleading results that present sociocultural factors, such as race, as a biological cause of certain diseases — when, in fact, environmental factors or actual biology, such as genetic mutations, may underlie the disease.

Event Sponsor: 
Department of Communication, Program in History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences Program, Center for African Studies, Center for Innovation in Global Health, McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society, Center for South Asia, Program in Science, Technology, and Society, Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, Bioengineering, African & African American Studies, Program in Human Biology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of, Science, Technology and Society, Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI), Department of Anthropology
Contact Email: 
jwreid@stanford.edu