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IBS Speaker Series – Special Presentation! Why the social sciences and genetics need each other.
October 28, 2021 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Zoom Link: https://cuboulder.zoom.us/j/97433416901
Speaker: Melinda Mills, Keynote Speaker for the Integrating Genetics and the Social Science (IGSS) Annual Conference.
Abstract: This talk first reflects on what genetics can offer the social sciences and vice versa, but also the advantages of working together. It delves into examples that have produced novel measures and better prediction of behavioural outcomes such as reproduction, education and status. The talk then turns to why genetic research can benefit from interaction with the social sciences, drawing attention to how heritability differs across birth cohorts and countries, that certain polygenic scores are highly correlated or vary by socioeconomic background or how a third predictor may be driving outcomes. The talk then stands back to question whether it is not only ethical but also technically plausible to use polygenic scores in policy interventions and beyond, including recent policy attempts. It then reflects on the impact of lack of diversity and representative samples in data (e.g., by ancestry, socioeconomic status, age, sex, country) on our findings. The talk concludes with several promising new large data collection efforts that contain novel measures and focus on hard to reach populations.
Bio: Melinda Mills (MBE, FBA) is Director, Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science (LCDS), University of Oxford. Her research spans multiple topics in demography, empirical sociology, statistics and genetics. Her recent work focuses on sociogenomics, combining a social science and molecular genetic approach to the study of behavioural outcomes, with a focus on reproduction (fertility), chronotype, nonstandard, precarious employment and assortative mating. Other interests include behavioural approaches to health interventions, including behavioural and policy responses to face coverings and vaccine deployment. She is PI (principal investigator) of the Leverhulme Trust Large Centre Grant for the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, PI of the ERC Advanced Grant CHRONO and PI of the ERC Proof of Concept Grant and social business enterprise DNA4Science. She was the PI of the ERC Consolidator Grant SOCIOGENOME and the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods SOCGEN project. She was the Editor in Chief of the European Sociological Review (2012-17) and is on the Executive Council of the UKRI/ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and the Supervisory Board (Raad van Toezicht) of the Dutch National Science Council (NWO) and the UK’s Government’s SAGE sub-committee on ethnicity and Royal Society’s SET-C Committee.