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Research Programs

Heinz and Virginia Herrmann Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights and the Life Sciences


Heinz and Virginia Herrmann Distinguished Lecture Series on Human Rights and the Life Sciences

The Heinz and Virginia Herrmann Distinguished Lecture Series on Human Rights and the Life Sciences was established through a generous gift from Heinz and Virginia Herrmann. The lecture series represents Heinz’s and Virginia’s long-term commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration between the life sciences and the humanities and to the value of informed public discourse about the ethical and social dimensions of scientific inquiry.

Heinz Herrmann was the Maude K. Irving American Cancer Society Professor of Biology from 1960 – 1980 and Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut, Storrs from 1959- 1979. Dr. Herrmann received his M.D. degree from the University of Vienna Medical School in 1936 with a focus on biochemistry. Prior to accepting his appointment at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Herrmann held positions at the Carlsberg Laboratories in Copenhagen, Johns Hopkins University Medical School, Yale University, and the University of Colorado Medical School where he established the noted Laboratory of Chemical Embryology. His scientific career has been devoted to understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms of embryological development.

Virginia Herrmann was Adjunct Professor of Organ in the School of Music at the University of Connecticut, and held the position of Director of Music at St. Marks Episcopal Chapel, Storrs from 1960-2000. She received her Bachelor and MFA degrees from Indiana University, and later studied organ at Yale University.

Dr. Heinz Hermann is the author of over one hundred journal articles and one hundred fifty technical reports. He was awarded a NATO visiting professorship at the University of Milan in 1971. In addition to his scientific papers Dr. Herrmann has published on the philosophy of science and the history of medicine. After he retiring from his faculty position at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Herrmann published two books: Cell Biology: An Inquiry into the Nature of the Living State (HarperCollins, 1989),  and From Biology to Sociopolitics: Conceptual Continuity in Complex Systems (Yale University Press, 1998).  Dr. Herrmann, along with four other distinguished researchers, founded the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB). To honor his achievements, the ASCB presents the Dr. Heinz Herrmann Symposium every year at its annual meeting.

Previous Lectures Supported by the Heinz and Virginia Herrmann Distinguished Lecture on Human Rights and the Life Sciences

“The Genome, Eugenics, and Human Rights”

Thursday April 3, 2008 at 4:00pm
Konover Auditorium
The Dodd Research Center
Reception to follow the lecture
Dr. Daniel J. Kevles

Dr. Kevles is the Stanley Woodward Professor of History and Professor of History of Medicine, of American Studies, and of Law (adjunct), and Chair of the Program in the History of Medicine & Science at Yale University. He received his B.A. from Princeton University (Physics) in 1960, training at Oxford University (European History) from 1960-61, and his Ph.D. from Princeton (History) in 1964. His research interests include: the interplay of science and society past and present; the history of science in America; the history of modern physics; the history of modern biology, scientific fraud and misconduct; the history of intellectual property in living organisms; and the history of science, arms, and the state.

Dr. Kevles is the author or co-author of many books and articles including “In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity” which has been published in many countries, and “The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science, and Character” (W.W. Norton, 1998). His teaching areas are the history of modern science, including genetics, physics, and science in American society.

Sponsored by the Program on Science and Human Rights of The Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Inaugural Events

Lectures on Human Dignity, Human Rights, and the Life Sciences

October 18, 2006
November 8, 2006
Konover Auditorium
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center

Co-sponsored by the Dodd Research Center.
Open to the public and all students, staff, and faculty at the University of Connecticut.

“Human Dignity – Trump Card and Troublemaker”

Wednesday October 18, 2006
4:00pm
First Annual Heinz and Virginia Herrmann Lecture
on Human Rights and the Life Sciences
Dr. Karen Lebacqz

Emeritus Robert Gordon Sprout Professor of Theological Ethics, Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA. Dr. Lebacqz is an internationally known bioethicist with special expertise in stem cell ethics. She has served as commissioner on the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research and is known as a co-author of the famous Belmont Report.
Reception Follows

“Of Mice and Humans: Creating Human-Nonhuman Chimeras in Stem Cell Research”

Wednesday November 8. 2006 4:00pm
Dr. Cynthia Cohen

Faculty Affiliate at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and Fellow of the Hastings Center. Dr. Cohen is a member of the Canadian Stem Cell Oversight Committee, former Executive Director of the National Advisory Board on Ethics in Reproduction, and former Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Denver.
Reception Follows

“Race and Science: New Challenges to an Old Problem”

Wednesday April 4, 2007
4:00 in the Konover Auditorium
Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
Dr. Evelynn M. Hammonds

Dr. Hammonds is Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University where she is also Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity. Her work has been featured nationally in the PBS documentary “Race: The Power of an Illusion”.
Reception Follows