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Sandy Starr

Sandy Starr is Deputy Director of the charity that publishes BioNews, the Progress Educational Trust (PET). Besides working on BioNews, he produces PET's public events together with the charity's Director, Sarah Norcross. He is also an author and public speaker who has addressed MPs in the UK Parliament on the subject of human embryo research, debated the morality of genetics on The Moral Maze on BBC Radio 4, been interviewed about mitochondrial donation on the BBC World Service programme Newshour and in the book Legalising Mitochondrial Donation, and appeared as a guest on the Sunrise Paper Review on Sky News. He has written about genome editing in the British Medical Bulletin, in the European Journal and in Microbiology Today, and has written about the role of genetics in education in Teachwire.

Sandy has worked with the British Society for Genetic Medicine on the development of guidelines concerning prenatal genetic diagnosis, both in relation to ethical issues in general and in relation to cancer susceptibility in particular. He has been a producer of the annual Battle of Ideas festival, a lecturer at the annual Living Freedom residential school, and a judge at the Debating Matters sixth-form debating competition. He was previously a member of the Ethics Advisory Board of the world's largest autism research project, narrated project-related videos and contributed to related journal articles. He has served on the Editorial Board of the charity Autistica, he was a member of the founding editorial team of the pioneering current affairs publication spiked, and he spent several years as a film critic for The Sun newspaper's TV Mag supplement.

BioNews Comment articles written by Sandy Starr:
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FILM: Health and Genomics - What's the Score with Polygenic Scores?
17 February 2020 - by Sandy Starr
This film documents a debate about polygenic risk scores chaired by the deputy director of the Progress Educational Trust at the Battle of Ideas festival... [Read More]
How should we use genomic data in assisted reproduction?
7 May 2019 - by Sandy Starr
Advances in genomics are having a growing impact on fertility treatment and assisted reproduction... [Read More]
How should we discuss genome editing in public?
2 October 2017 - by Sandy Starr
What do patients and laypeople think and know about genome editing and its implications? What are the best ways for experts and others to discuss genome editing in public, so as to improve public understanding and avoid confusion? The Progress Educational Trust has set out to answer these questions, with its 'Basic Understanding of Genome Editing' project.... [Read More]
Podcast: Can Women Put Motherhood on Ice?
11 July 2016 - by Sandy Starr
Can egg freezing deliver on its promise? Does the possibility of delaying motherhood mean winning the battle for gender equality, or does it mean the opposite?... [Read More]
Podcast: The Birds, the Bees and Fertility Treatment - A Sting in the Tale?
23 May 2016 - by Sandy Starr
Should (in)fertility be a part of secondary school education? If so, then how we should we - and how shouldn't we - go about teaching it?... [Read More]
What you think about the benefits and risks of whole genome sequencing
1 June 2015 - by Sandy Starr
In our recent poll on BioNews, we asked you for your views on the benefits and risks of participating in the 100,000 Genomes Project... [Read More]
What you think about the 100,000 Genomes Project
26 May 2015 - by Sandy Starr
From February to April 2015, readers of BioNews were asked for their views on the 100,000 Genomes Project - a UK Government initiative which aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients and their families. 775 of you responded to our poll... [Read More]
Where you get your information about breast cancer
1 December 2014 - by Sandy Starr
Where do people seek out, or most commonly come across, information about breast cancer? And how confident are they that this information is accurate?... [Read More]
What you think about breast cancer and genetic testing
24 November 2014 - by Sandy Starr
The Progress Educational Trust's project 'Breast Cancer: Chances, Choices and Genetics', supported by the Wellcome Trust, sought to clarify breast cancer and risk for the benefit of current and prospective patients, professionals and the general public... [Read More]
Your thoughts about donor conception, conditionality and adoption
20 May 2013 - by Sandy Starr
Should gamete donors be allowed to place conditions on who receives their donation? And should those considering having children via donor conception be encouraged to adopt instead?... [Read More]

BioNews Review articles written by Sandy Starr:
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Event Review: Futures in Reproduction
4 February 2013 - by Sandy Starr
In 2010, Professor Sir Robert Edwards was awarded a long overdue Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for his the part he played in pioneering both the theory and practice of IVF. This conference focused on the kind of cutting-edge research that takes Professor Edwards' legacy forward... [Read More]
Event Review: Have Your Say on Mitochondria Replacement (London)
19 November 2012 - by Sandy Starr
At the beginning of this year, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority was asked to consult the public on proposed new techniques to avoid the transmission of mitochondrial disease. The resulting public consultation is being conducted in several different ways including two public events, the first of which I attended... [Read More]

BioNews News articles written by Sandy Starr:
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New embryo and stem cell research guidelines allow for possibility of extending the 14-day rule
1 June 2021 - by Sandy Starr
The International Society for Stem Cell Research has published wide-ranging new guidelines, covering a number of contentious areas of research and clinical practice... [Read More]
UK Government adviser resigns over eugenics remarks
24 February 2020 - by Sandy Starr
A recently appointed adviser to the UK government, Andrew Sabisky, has resigned following widespread criticism of his views on topics including genetics and reproduction... [Read More]
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge appointed chair of the Progress Educational Trust
7 January 2019 - by Sandy Starr
The eminent developmental biologist Professor Robin Lovell-Badge has been appointed Chair of Trustees at the Progress Educational Trust (PET), the charity that publishes BioNews... [Read More]
Professors Robin Lovell-Badge and Cathy Warwick recognised in New Year's Honours
8 January 2018 - by Sandy Starr
Leading figures in reproductive science and medicine have been recognised in the New Year's Honours list 2018, including two experts who have previously written for BioNews... [Read More]
Leading figures in genetics and fertility recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours
26 June 2017 - by Sandy Starr
Foremost among them is Professor Sir John Sulston, who played a central role in the Human Genome Project and founded the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute... [Read More]
UK Parliamentary committee publishes report on genomics and genome editing
2 May 2017 - by Sandy Starr
The Science and Technology Committee of the UK Parliament's House of Commons has published a brief report of its wide-ranging inquiry into genomics and genome editing... [Read More]
Lord John Walton, scientist and Parliamentarian, dies aged 93
25 April 2016 - by Sandy Starr
John Walton was a pioneer in myology, the field of clinical muscle research, and a key figure in Parliamentary debates about mitochondrial donation... [Read More]
House of Lords gives green light to mitochondrial donation
2 March 2015 - by Sandy Starr
The House of Lords has voted by 280 to 48 to pass regulations permitting mitochondrial donation. This makes the UK the first country in the world to legislate for the use of mitochondrial donation techniques in treatment... [Read More]
Should the HFEA have a legal duty to consider economic growth?
23 February 2015 - by Sandy Starr
Members of the House of Lords have expressed concern about a Government Bill that would arguably compel the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, to consider economic growth when making its regulatory decisions... [Read More]
MPs vote overwhelmingly in favour of mitochondrial donation
4 February 2015 - by Sandy Starr
The House of Commons voted by 382 to 128 to pass regulations permitting mitochondrial donation, a majority of 254... [Read More]