Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre

Project Items

Could I? Would I? Or should I? What can genetics professionals learn from empirical research about the ethics of choice in cancer genetic testing?

Visiting Scholar Lorraine Cowley has been granted a Short-term Research Leave Award for Clinicians from the Wellcome Trust

The aim of the award is to explore whether the ethical norm of individual freedom of choice is sufficient to guide professional practice in genetic counselling for cancer predisposition syndromes. Under the academic supervision of Erica Haimes, this award will provide opportunities for Lorraine to build on her PhD research, 'Genetics and Kinship: finding morality at their intersection', which was supervised by Professors Janice McLaughlin, Sir John Burn and Doctors Tracy Finch and Emma Clavering.

Lorraine will produce outputs which have the chance to impact directly on the quality of care provided within genetics. For example, her proposed publications arising from this research will highlight ways in which ethical and social issues can be put at the heart of genetic counselling care.

Dissemination of the work via publications and a workshop will benefit counsellors and clinicians by increasing insight into how they work with families, in hitherto overlooked ways. This will contribute to professional development of genetics practitioners at all levels.

The award provides another opportunity for collaboration between PEALS and the Northern Genetics Service who have supported Lorraine and contributed to the application. Her award will be undertaken on a part-time basis over 10 months, starting in 2015.