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Hand, Face, and Genital Transplants: Navigating Ethics to Change Lives

  • Gilman 50 (Johns Hopkins University, Homewood Campus) 3400 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD, 21218 United States (map)

Dr. Gerald Brandacher (Scientific Director, Reconstructive Transplant Program) and Dr. Jeffrey Kahn (Director, Berman Institute of Bioethics) will discuss the ethics of transplants for donors, patients, and their families. In addition, they will discuss Dr. Brandacher’s medical team’s successful penis and scrotum transplant and ethics of transplanting gene-generating tissue such as testicles. Finally, as medicine progresses to allow us to transplant more organs, Dr. Brandacher and Dr. Kahn will examine future ethical topics, such as uterus transplants.

Dr. Gerald Brandacher, originally from Austria, is an associate professor of surgery and plastic and reconstructive surgery at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Brandacher serves as the scientific director of the Reconstructive Transplantation Program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His team at the School of Medicine is engaged in basic and translational research on donor-specific immune tolerance and immunomonitoring strategies for Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA) such as hand, upper extremity, and face transplants. Dr. Brandacher has mentored 60 pre- and post-doctoral researches over the past 15 years, and has authored more than 180 peer reviewed papers, 27 book chapters, and has edited two textbooks on hand transplantation. In 2014, he co-founded the journal Vascularized Composite Allotransplantation (VCA), and currently serves as its Editor-in-Chief.

Since July 2016, Dr. Kahn has been serving as the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Before this position, Dr. Kahn was the inaugural Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy. He has a keen interest in a variety of fields, including the intersection of ethics and health/science policy, human and animal research, public health, and emerging biomedical technologies. In addition to the numerous roles he plays and positions he fills, Dr. Kahn also works as a co-principal investigator with Berman Institute faculty member Gail Geller, ScD, MHS, on GUIDE: Genomic Uses in Infectious Disease and Epidemics, an NIH-funded project to study the largely unexplored ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics as applied to infectious disease. Furthermore, Dr. Kahn speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world on a range of bioethics topics, in addition to frequent media outreach. He has been presented on the CNBC channel to talk about two of his publications, called Contemporary Issues in BioethicsBeyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research and Ethics of Research With Human Subjects: Selected Policies and Resources.