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Resources: Professional Ethics Report Summer 2016

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Scientists Create Competitive and Fun Science-Based Card Game
by Julia Kaufman

When scientists Caezar Al-Jassar and Kuly Heer started a Kickstarter page on June 7th to fund the creation of Lab Wars, an educational and fun science-themed card game, they were not expecting to raise $25,000 more than they originally needed. Al-Jassar works in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge as a postdoctoral fellow. Heer is currently studying for her second doctorate in clinical psychology, having already received a PhD in Psychology from Birmingham University. The game was originally inspired by the book The Secret Anarchy of Science by Michael Brooks, and their own personal experiences in laboratory environments. Lab Wars tasks two to four players with building a lab and conducting experiments to achieve scientific breakthroughs. It is meant for both non-scientists and those familiar with the scientific process, and is equipped with mechanisms that allow for replayability. Al-Jassar and Heer sought to make the game especially competitive, allowing players to sabotage each other's labs. The game’s potential caught on quickly, and thanks to the additional funds, they are in the process of creating expansion packs. In the game, players build their own labs using research points and decide on different pieces of laboratory equipment to work towards scientific innovation to win the game. The sabotage cards are based on real historical events of scientists derailing each other’s success. The game comes with a rule book, different character cards, action cards, lab item cards, impact cards, cheat sheet cards, and 50 flask shaped research point chits. The game is available online to pre-order for $27 in English, Spanish, German and French.

[1] Getchell, Bryce. “Lab Wars: A card game made by actual Scientists!” Nerd Reactor, 10 June 2016.
[2] “Lab Wars – The science themed card game for 2-4 competitors” Kickstarter, 7 June 2016.

Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues Publishes Community Engagement Module
by Julia Kaufman

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has published a new educational module titled “Community Engagement in Ethics and Ebola,” which is intended to “introduce the role and demonstrate the importance of community engagement in public health preparedness.” [1] The goal is for students, professionals and the general public to learn about the role of community engagement in public health, empowering them to actively fill that role. The module builds on previous Bioethics Commission reports, including Bioethics for Every Generation: Deliberation and Education in Health, Science and Technology, as well as Ethics and Ebola: Public Health Planning and Response. Community engagement modules also exist for synthetic biology, human subjects research protections, and large-scale genomic sequencing. [1]

The new module includes the Commission’s recommendations on “community engagement related to domestic and international research, the collecting and sharing of biospecimens, and public health communication.” [1] It also has discussion topics and learning exercises based on real-life ethics scenarios. By using the module, students should be able to: “1) Discuss the importance of community engagement as it relates to public health emergency learning and response efforts; 2) Identify ways in which community engagement can facilitate ethical public health planning and response; and 3) Consider different ways to engage communities in public health decision making both domestically and internationally.” [2] All modules are available for free download at Modules can be incorporated into existing courses or combined to create new courses. The Ethics and Ebola module can be found at


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