Richbourg, Russ Winners in Bioethics Essay Contest

Fischell Department of Bioengineering (BioE) junior William Richbourg and freshman Zachary Russ placed third and first, respectively, in the Institute of Biological Engineering's (IBE) annual bioethics essay contest. The pair presented their papers at Institute's annual conference March 8. Russ' first-place entry will be considered for publication in the Journal of Biological Engineering, the official journal of the IBE.

Russ' essay, "Synthetic Biology: Enormous Possibility, Exaggerated Perils," discusses synthetic biology (synbio), a relatively new field in which scientists seek to create life "from scratch", while Richbourg's, "Clones, and Immortals, and Bears! Oh, My!" argues that media focus on the more sensational possibilities of genetic engineering fuels hysteria, does not represent the current state of the field, and downplays its benefits to human health.

BioE freshman Stevephen Hung and sophomore Bryan Hofferbert, who were also selected as finalists and presented their papers at the conference, received honorable mentions. University of Maryland bioengineering students represented four of the five finalists in this year's competition.

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Published March 10, 2008