A Mormon biotechnician asks, “Does the physical body explain everything about who we are?”
Lisa Ortuno, Ph.D. (of blessed memory) held degrees in biology from the University of South Carolina. In her graduate work she studied the mating patterns and population genetics of American alligators utilizing methods in molecular biology. Since 2002 she had worked for three international biotechnology companies - LifeTechnologies, Illumina and now Promega Corporation, where she has provided technical support and training for life science research, government, private, DNA forensics and clinical diagnostics laboratories around the world. Lisa was a member of the Bahá’í Faith, which has its world center in Haifa, Israel.
Sadly, she died suddenly in December 2015. Lisa served on the Local Spiritual Assemblies for her Baha’i communities and gave numerous talks on topics related to science and religion to local and national Baha’i audiences. Lisa had three children including two adult sons and a daughter.
What can we really predict about human behavior in light of increasing knowledge from genetics?
Science is complex. But once we have a better understanding of the latest science, we can use that knowledge to inform public policy more effectively.
With new discoveries in epigenetics — how our environment affects our DNA — how much control do we have over our own choices?
We are gaining more and more knowledge about the intricacies of genetic information. But if knowledge is power, how should we use this power? How much does it help us and how much might it harm us?
As genetic technology continues to advance, what happens when we try to create or eliminate certain characteristics for our children? What are the potential unintended consequences with fiddling with our DNA? Should humans be “playing God”? Lisa Ortuno, a Sinai and Synapses Fellow, explores those questions through a series of interviews, asking several experts, “Are we more than our genes?”
As part of the “More Light, Less Heat” series, Lisa M. Ortuno, Ph.D. and Dr. Carey Murphy share how their Baha’i faith has enhanced their love of science, and how science has strengthened their commitment to their faith.