Campus news

Media Advisory: Panel to feature personal stories from the genetic frontier

By Media Relations

Contact: Robert Sanders
(510) 643-6998

ATTENTION: Reporters covering health, medicine, science, biotechnology


A panel discussion, The DNA Age: Personal Stories from the Genetic Frontier, presented by the College of Letters & Science at the University of California, Berkeley, as part of this falls Bring Your Genes to Cal program.

The panel, co-sponsored by The New York Times, is free and open to everyone on a first-come, first-seated basis.


Monday, Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m.


Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley. See map at


New York Times national correspondent Amy Harmon will moderate the panel, which includes two women Harmon wrote about in her Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles, The DNA Age, that explored the impact of new genetic technology on American life. The panel speakers are:

Dr. Deborah Lindner, who tested positive for a DNA mutation that increases her risk of developing breast cancer
Katharine (Katie) Moser, an occupational therapist who found out that she has a genetic mutation that dooms her to an early death from Huntingtons disease
Anna Tague, a mother of four whose youngest child was born with a rare genetic disorder
Dr. Steven Schonholz, medical director and surgeon at the Breast Care Center, Mercy Medical Center, Mass., and a national advocate for training physicians to incorporate genetic testing and informed consent into their practices


The panel discussion the last public event in this falls Bring Your Genes to Cal program seeks to shed light on the challenges new genetic information poses for all of us by exploring the personal stories of people who are grappling directly with its benefits and burdens.

Among the questions the panelists will bring up as they tell their tales are: How do you face the future at age 22 when you know you carry a gene for an incurable illness expected to strike in middle age? Would you eliminate your high genetic cancer risk if it meant undergoing surgery that can be physically and psychologically arduous? Where do you go when a test pinpoints the genetic cause of your childs developmental differences, but offers little information about how to address them? How do family members respond to medical knowledge that may change their perception of themselves and each other?

Schonholz, a doctor who uses genetic tests in his practice, will offer his medical expertise.