March 22, 2010

JHU faculty and staff star in NIH videos about careers in genomics

Video interviews featuring faculty and staff from the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and School of Medicine debuted last week on the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Web site. The independently produced videos are meant to inspire high school and college students to consider careers in genomics or genetics.

The library of nearly 50 videos, online at, presents would-be scientists with the many diverse career paths they might pursue in government, the nonprofit sector and academia.

For instance, bioethicist Carlton Haywood Jr., an assistant professor at the Berman Institute, describes his work on issues of communication and trust between doctors and patients with sickle cell disease. In the 11-minute video, viewers also discover that his passion is fueled by his own experiences with the condition.

The institute’s director, Ruth Faden, discusses how advances in genomics and genetics raise important, complex questions about bioethics, such as how much influence ought to be exerted in the future over the kinds of babies that are brought into the world. A thought leader in her field, Faden suggests how teenagers can turn even writing assignments in a high school history or life-science class into an opportunity to explore bioethical issues.

In the Sickle Cell Center for Adults at Johns Hopkins, its director, Sophie Lanzkron, talks about her dedication to improving the quality of care that those with the genetic disease currently receive.

Genetic counselor Amanda Bergner explains how she helps children and families understand an inherited condition, how it might affect their lives and what resources are available.

Other videos feature J.J. Strouse, an assistant professor of hematology; Allan Sison, a medical fellow in the Division of Pediatric Hematology; Mandy David, a physician assistant at the Johns Hopkins Sickle Cell Infusion Center; and Rachel Han, a laboratory research assistant in the Pediatric Hematology Center.

The National Human Genome Research Institute unveiled the videos at the annual meeting of the National Science Teachers Association in Philadelphia. Most include transcripts and link to related career profiles on the Genomic Careers Resource site, which also features interactive tools such as video quizzes and a career-tracker program. NHGRI is an agency of the NIH.