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Precision medicine: can it live up to the hype?

The promise of treatments based on people's genetic profiles
Join us as world-renowned thinkers explore some of the key issues around precision medicine. We analyse the realities of disease prediction, economics, ethics, clinical applications and the balance between the personal and the public benefit.

Event details
Date and time:
Wednesday 2 October, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium
University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential.

The promise of precision medicine is that it could offer better health outcomes by targeting patients’ genetic and biochemical make-up to pinpoint, predict, prevent and treat diseases. Can it deliver on this?

In this event, physician and epidemiologist Professor Sandro Galea from Boston University will present a short keynote on the approaches and value of personalised medicine versus public health medicine. Health economist, Associate Professor Sarah Wordsworth from Oxford University will give a short address examining the economics, asking who pays and who benefits?

Join them for a robust discussion that will include clinician Professor Chris Semsarian from Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Associate Professor Ainsley Newson, Deputy Director of Sydney Health Ethics at the Sydney School of Public Health. 

Professor Robyn Ward, Executive Dean at the Faculty of Medicine and Health, will introduce and chair the conversation.

The speakers

Sandro Galea is considered one of the most important and innovative voices in American health and medicine. A physician, epidemiologist and author, he is dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health.

Sandro holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto, graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow. He was named one of Time magazine’s epidemiology innovators and has been listed as one of the 'world’s most influential scientific minds.' He is chair of the board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health, as well as an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and has received a number of lifetime achievement awards. 

Sarah Wordsworth, from the Health Economics Research Centre (HERC) at the University of Oxford, has developed a research program on the economics of genetic and genomic technologies. Of particular interest are the economics of translating genomic high-throughput technologies from research into clinical practice, in both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In October 2006, Sarah took up a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Institute for Health Research. This fellowship involved methodological and applied research on the economic evaluation of novel genomic technologies in the NHS. Sarah's other interests include costing methodology and trial-based evaluations in the areas of eye disease, blood transfusion, cardiac surgery and surgery for obesity. Prior to this appointment, Sarah worked in the Health Economics Research Unit at the University of Aberdeen from 1995-2002, after completing her MSc in Health Economics in 1995 at the University of York.

Chris Semsarian is an internationally renowned cardiologist and scientist studying genetic heart disease and sudden death and the management of individuals and families with, or at risk of, inherited cardiac disorders.

He is the Director of the Genetic Heart Disease and Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney and Director of the Australian Genetic Heart Disease Registry. Chris' research focuses on identifying new genes in cardiovascular disease, elucidating the molecular basis of how these genes lead to clinical manifestations, and evaluating the role of modifying factors in clinical disease development and progression. He established and heads the Molecular Cardiology Program at the Centenary Institute, University of Sydney.

Ainsley Newson is an authority on the ethical issues that arise in genomics and personalised medicine. Her work critically considers how genomic technologies should be used well, in both clinical and population health settings. Particular issues that Ainsley has focused on include discussions of population screening, genetic testing in children and prenatal diagnosis.

In addition to her academic role as Associate Professor and Deputy Director at Sydney Health Ethics, Ainsley is a member of several policy-making committees in bioethics and health for government and professional associations. She also regularly engages in media and public debate about bioethics issues.

Robyn Ward AM FAHM joined the University of Sydney in July 2018 as the inaugural Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health. She was the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Executive Dean (Acting) of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Queensland.

Robyn is an academic leader, cancer researcher and medical oncologist. She chairs the Commonwealth Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC), and serves on the Council and Executive of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2013 she was made Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medical research and patient care in the field of oncology.

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the 'Register now' button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 30 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides wheelchair access and infrared hearing system.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email with 'Access | October 2 – Precision medicine' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium is on Level 1 of the building opposite Charles Perkins Centre on John Hopkins Drive (next to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), off Missenden Road.

You can also enter via the Ross Street entrance: the venue is next to the ovals.

Public transport

The closest bus stop is the University of Sydney Ross Street Gate, Parramatta Road (Opposite Glebe Officeworks). It is a five-minute walk to the venue. Use the University Campus Map tool to locate the bus stop. You can take the bus from Central Station (routes 412, 413, 436, 438, 440, 461, 480).

The venue is roughly a 30-minute walk from Redfern station.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Social Sciences Building'. 

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