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Biofutures: DVD-ROM By English Professor Reviewed in Nature

A DVD-ROM co-authored by Helen Burgess, an assistant professor of English, has received a favorable review in the international science research journal Nature (March 5, 2009 edition).

The DVD-ROM, Biofutures: Owning Body Parts and Information, examines the issue of owning human tissue and genetic material for research and potential profit. Biofutures uses video, text, interviews, film clips and Web links to explore ownership of human body parts. The discussion centers on themes of law, biology and culture.

The review applauded the approach of exploring the subject through multimedia information sources.

"The authors use their broad backgrounds in science policy, history and English literature to locate the questions of body ownership within the wider fields of social science and bioethics,” the review said.

Burgess worked with co-authors Robert Mitchell, a faculty member in the Duke University English department, and Phillip Thurtle, a faculty member in the University of Washington history department.

"Helen Burgess' recognition in Nature shows the wide-ranging scholarship that takes place in the UMBC Department of English today and our interest in new media," said Jessica Berman, associate professor and department chair.

"This recognition also shows the value of an interdisciplinary approach to such thorny issues as the ownership of body parts and the information derived from genetic material," Berman said.

Burgess is active in the new media research community as editor of the online journal Hyperrhiz: new Media Cultures.

Biofutures is a production of the University of Pennsylvania Press.

Posted: March 5, 2009, 12:00 PM