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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Jan Wenzel, 874-2116

Emerging issues in biotech industry to be discussed
at URI’s Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 15, 2002 -- A biotech industry leader, a bioethicist for Pfizer, and a cancer scientist will discuss the emerging ethical and social issues in the biotech industry at the University of Rhode Island on Tuesday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. in Room 271, Chafee Social Science Center. The discussion, part of the URI Honors Colloquium ongoing fall series "Genetic Technology and Public Policy in the New Millennium," will be moderated by Donald Letendre, dean of URI’s College of Pharmacy. It is free and open to the public.

David Corbet is chief operating officer and director of Matritech, Inc., a publicly traded biotechnology company (Nasdaq: NMPS), and a leading developer of proteomics-based diagnostic products for the early detection of cancer.

Prior to joining Matritech, Corbet served as president and COO of T Cell Diagnostics, Inc., a subsidiary of T Cell Sciences, Inc. He graduated from URI in 1975 with a degree in zoology.

Elora Weringer, bioethics advisor in the Division of U.S. Science Policy and Public Affairs, Pfizer Global Research & Development, New London, Conn. will join Corbet in the discussion.

Her career includes a NIH funded assistant professorship of pathology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester and she has served as a senior research investigator for Pfizer Inc. working on the immunology of transplantation and autoimmune diabetes mellitus. She has contributed to three patents in immunosuppressive therapies for transplant rejection and is the author of numerous peer-reviewed scientific reports, book chapters, and reviews.

Her expertise in bioethics was furthered by an academic leave of absence from Pfizer Inc. for advanced studies in philosophy and bioethics at The School of Philosophy of the Catholic University of America, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and The Center for Clinical Bioethics, Georgetown University. She also continued studies in moral philosophy at Providence College and was awarded a Founder Grant to conduct research at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. She has been an invited lecturer at many national and international symposiums as well as an invited respondent for ethical commentary.

Sally E. Spence, a staff scientist at the Mouse Center Genetics Program, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Frederick Maryland, can respond to the role genes play in cancer. A 1976 URI zoology graduate, Spence earned her Ph.D. in human genetics and development from Columbia University.

Major sponsors for the colloquium series are URI’s Honors Program, The URI Foundation, Theta Chi Fraternity, The Providence Journal, the Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities, the Joan Irvine Smith and Athalie R. Clarke Foundation, and the URI’s President’s Office. Additional sponsors include URI’s Offices of the Provost and the dean of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing, Student Entertainment Committee, the Multicultural Center, the John Hazen White Sr. Center for Ethics and Public Service, the URI Alumni Association, the Department of Communications/News Bureau and Matritech.

For more information, Honors Program, 401-874-2303.

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