Usher Institute

Usher Institute Showcase and Annual Lecture


12.00 - Registration and networking lunch

13:00 - Showcase and panel discussion

14:30 - Refreshments

15:00 - Annual Lecture  

Annual Lecture


Dr Victor J. Dzau, President of the US National Academy of Medicine


Emerging biomedical science & technology: A brave new world


Science and technology are moving at an extremely rapid pace and paving the way for exciting new developments in health and medicine. Already, we are seeing substantial progress in the fields of biomedicine and biotechnology; engineering and nanotechnology; and digital technology, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), to name just a few. We are witnessing medical breakthroughs in areas of genetic engineering, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, immuno-cancer therapy, precision medicine, big data and analytics and artificial intelligence. These advances in science and technology will transform all aspects of health and healthcare: from disease treatment to cure to early detection and prevention with the emergence of precision public health. The future healthcare delivery will enable a seamless continuum of care, change the way care is delivered, when care is delivered, where care is delivered and who care is delivered by. Advances such as these will provide an armamentarium of tools that can revolutionise healthcare and health to be more connected, precise, democratised and people centered with better outcomes and improved population health. However, new innovations and technologies carry risks and raise important questions for society related to cost, equity, ethics, regulation, and more. For example, last November, a scientist from China revealed that as a result of his research, twins were born whose embryonic genomes had been edited. The scientist was widely condemned by the global scientific community for violating long-standing scientific principles and ethical norms. Importantly, this surprising news demonstrates the urgency to develop international consensus around acceptable use of human genome editing technologies. In particular, potential clinical applications of heritable genome editing raise many complicated issues around ethics, equity and fairness, and societal acceptance. There is a critical need to address access and affordability, social and ethical issues of new technologies as well as concerns that they will increase health care costs and impact the healthcare workforce. Certain jobs will be replaced while others will be transformed by new technologies such as AI. Finally, there is an urgent need to address data ownership, privacy, sharing and cybersecurity concerns. These issues must be dealt with collectively and effectively in order to realise the full potential of science and innovation. Professor Dzau will discuss the potential of innovation and technology on the future of health and medicine, and the implications for society.


Victor Dzau is currently the James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University, North Carolina, and also President of the US National Academy of Medicine. He has been the Hersey Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

16:00 - Discussion

16:20 - Vote of thanks: Professor Moira Whyte, Head of College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

16:30 - Drinks reception


This is a free event, open to the public - please register if you plan to attend.

Nov 25 2019 -

Usher Institute Showcase and Annual Lecture

Showcase and annual lecture

Surgeons Quarter, Nicolson Street, Edinburgh