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            polity. Where else will we find a better laboratory or debate platform   I thank UHS Chancellor Renu Khator and the regents for this
            than at UHD, with UHLC colleagues?                     unparalleled opportunity. I have appreciated all the UHD faculty and
              I ride with my students in the UHD elevators every day, and it is   staff who have invested in our students, and I always remember that it is
            always a life-affirming experience, as many are first generation students,  students whom we have chosen to serve.
            immigrants, and students of color. When they recognize me, they relate   All that said, I will return to UHLC, better informed about the daily
            their experiences and their triumphs and their concerns. Since the   consequences of higher education law and immigration law as fields
            election, they have actually cheered me up—not for the first time. One   of engagement. I hope that my students will be the beneficiaries of this
            of them sensed my own dread and said to me, “Llegamos, tan cerca,   extraordinary opportunity I was blessed to have.
            Presidente Olivas.” (We came very close, President Olivas.)





            BARBARA J. EVANS

              For Professor Barbara J. Evans, 2016 was one of those years
            when “all your prior assumptions fly out the window, you shred
            every article you wrote before, you step into a new reality and
            it’s time to think new things. It was delightful.” The trigger was
            sudden advances in genome-editing technologies, specifically the
            technique known as CRISPR-Cas9.
              “The first law course I ever taught was Law and Genetics in
            2005,” recalls Evans, Alumnae College Professor of Law.  “Back
            then, we agonized over legal and ethical dilemmas people face as
            genetic tests reveal their unique, immutable genomes. The course
            was about genetic privacy and control of genetic information,
            genetic discrimination and stigmatization, Fourth Amendment
            concerns with forensic DNA databases, and so forth.”
              Those issues are “so last decade,” Evans notes. While the law
            scholars debated, the engineers put forth some real technical
            solutions. “If your genome is causing you to be discriminated   Professor Barbara J. Evans debates the morality
            against, you’ll soon be able to get a different genome. The big   of human DNA manipulation before the
            challenge for lawyers now is how do you make gene editing safe    historic Oxford Union Debating Society.
            for people and the environment, and how do you engage the public
            in making decisions about what’s OK and not OK to do?”    has been asked to brief Congress and the American College of
              Evans, director of the Center on Biotechnology & Law at the   Gene and Cell Therapy on regulatory options for gene editing
            Law Center, spoke at the joint US/UK/Chinese International   later this spring. She invested hundreds of after-hours hours on
            Summit on Human Gene Editing in December 2015, and “after   a National Academy of Sciences committee commissioned by the
            that, everything is a blur.” First off, the Law Center needed an   White House to assess the adequacy of existing statutes to regulate
            updated curriculum. She added a new FDA law course last fall   the flood of new biotechnology products expected over the next
            and modernized the school’s existing biotechnology law course   5 – 10 years.
            to emphasize not just medical, but agricultural, industrial and   Evans is excited about a new collaboration with a team of noted
            consumer applications of genomics.                     physicians and geneticists in California to develop a regulatory
              Evans notes that biosecurity concerns loom large in a world   strategy for the first human genome surgery center, where people
            where do-it-yourself gene editing kits are already available on the   will be able to go for repair of gene mutations that cause certain
            web for under $200. “What rights do you have if the guy next door  forms of blindness and neuromuscular diseases.
            gene-edits your dog, and now you have a pink dog? What if he’s   She was on the winning team at Oxford University’s historic
            messing around with microbes? Does FDA have jurisdiction to   debate about the ethics of human gene editing last May and was in
            inspect your neighbor’s garage?”                       London this March speaking at Covent Garden and King’s College
              Evans attained “ultra-kryptonite frequent flyer status” —   London.
            without ever canceling a class — zipping in and out of Houston to   The reward? “It’s good to have a seat at the table where science
            sit on various governmental and private advisory bodies on gene   policy decisions are being made,” she says. “I try to remind the
            editing and related data resource development, in addition to her   geneticists that, amid curing cancer and genetic diseases, they
            ongoing work with the precision medicine initiative and FDA’s   mustn’t forget the importance of cosmetic gene editing … like, can
            drug and device safety programs.                       you please do something about these jowls that lady law professors
              Evans logged three visits to the White House in 18 months and   start to get from grading too many exams?”


            law.uh.edu                                                                                                        5
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