Laura Kahn

Laura H. Kahn

Articles by Laura H. Kahn

16 April 2007

The evolution and consequences of synthetic biology

Laura H. Kahn

In the 1970s, genetic engineering was the hot new technology in which DNA molecules from one organism could be spliced into another organism's DNA. Today, synthetic biology could likewise revolutionize our way of life. But synthetic biology is orders of magnitude beyond genetic engineering because it can create completely novel DNA sequences. By human "intelligent design," synthetic biologists could conceivably create new life-forms previously unknown to this planet.

1 April 2007

Establishing a code of conduct in the life sciences

Laura H. Kahn

A Hippocratic oath is merely lip service, rigorous ethical standards need to be developed to properly vet those pursuing a career in the life sciences.

13 March 2007

Animals: The world's best (and cheapest) biosensors

Laura H. Kahn

While policy makers fret over the obstacles in developing biosensor technology, the best and cheapest biosensors are already distributed globally but generally ignored: They're called animals. The United States has spent millions of dollars to develop biosensors that would detect bioterrorism or other deadly agents. But so far, the technology has not met expectations and questions have arisen as to whether additional spending is warranted for civilian applications.

4 March 2007

A dangerous biodefense path

Laura H. Kahn

The Bush administration claims its biological research initiative will help fight terrorism, but does this research violate the Biological Weapons Convention?

1 March 2007
Turn back the clock
1 February 2007

The security impact of the uninsured

Laura H. Kahn

In his January 1, 2007 New York Times op-ed piece, "A Healthy New Year," Paul Krugman wrote that the U.S. health care system is a scandal and disgrace. He noted that in 2005 almost 47 million Americans were uninsured, and more than 8 million of these individuals were children. While Krugman's article discussed the human tragedy and costs of such a disastrous system, it did not mention two other crucial factors--the national security impact of millions of uninsured people and the decline in the number of primary care physicians and nurses who would provide care during a crisis.

8 January 2007

Government oversight and the life sciences

Laura H. Kahn

This fall, the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University hosted a series of biodefense seminars sponsored by the Carnegie Corporation of New York. The speakers included senior scientists and high-level government officials.