Screening of 'Twitch' and expert Q & A

Genetic Testing for Huntington’s Disease: a personal experience

Co-presented with the Sydney Network on Bodies, Organs and Tissues, Northern Clinical School, Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine (VELiM) at the University of Sydney, and the Human Genetics Society of Australasia

10 September, 2015

Twitch follows 18-year-old Kristen Powers as she undergoes genetic testing for Huntington's disease, the illness that took the life of her mother.

Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a neurodegenerative disease that is both disabling and life-limiting. Symptoms usually present in mid-adulthood, and person who has a parent with HD is at 50% risk of developing the condition themselves. A genetic test can predict in advance whether you will get the disease.

Twitch chronicles Kristen’s emotional, social and medical journey through testing, as well as the impact it has on her future. Twitch also explores the science of HD with experts and activists. Watch as Kristen explains the rationale behind her decision to be tested. Would you want to know?

Join us for a screening of this documentary film, followed by a Q&A with Kristen Powers and Associate Professor Kris Barlow-Stewart, Director of the Sydney Master of Genetic Counselling program, and Dr Ainsley Newson, Director of the Sydney Master of Bioethics program.

Watch the Official Twitch Trailer


Kirsten Powers

Kirsten Powers is a rising senior at Stanford University (California) where she studies Communication and African & African American Studies. She decided to pursue this film in 2011. Since then, she has traveled to five continents (counting Australia!) and screened her film to over 2,500 individuals. Twitch is Kristen's first documentary project.

Ainsley Newson

Dr Ainsley Newson is Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the University of Sydney. She has researched ethical issues in genetics and genomics for over 15 years. Ainsley directs the Sydney Bioethics Program of postgraduate coursework, in addition to being a co-investigator in the ARC-funded Genioz project; examining Australian’s’ attitudes to genomics.

Kristine Barlow-Stewart

Associate Professor Kristine Barlow-Stewart is Director of the Master of Genetic Counselling program for the University of Sydney. Her career has focussed on addressing the information and support needs of the community, education and training needs of professionals and the impact of the rapidly developing field of genetic and genomics technologies. Kristine was one of the first in Australia to be certified as a genetic counsellor in 1991.