Directed by Professor Thérèse Leroux, this area covers the relations that normative phenomena and governance mechanisms have with technological developments and their impact on human and animal health.
Recent developments in biomedical and environmental sectors employ biotechnologies and thus attract the attention of the members of this area. The work that is done in this area focuses on a wide range of both legal and ethical issues, such as governance of health care research, use of medical data, protection of privacy, and water management in Québec and Mexico. Indeed, the researchers in this area have many fields of interest, including health care systems, organ transplants, genetics, genomics, genetically modified organisms, public health protection and nanomedicine, as well as international environmental law. Many collaborators from both academia and professional circles have contributed to the study of these issues.
More specifically, the first theme in this area concerns the notion of risk. For example, projects look at the ways scientific uncertainty is taken into account with respect to management of health risks (e.g., strategic planning in response to the AH1N1 influenza, the impact of biotechnologies and nanotechnologies, and lifestyle changes) (Leroux, Stanton-Jean, Khoury, Campbell) and with respect to environmental risks (Ellis, Trudeau). The second theme employs the uniting interface of governance to explore in greater detail issues related to governance of animal and human health protection mechanisms (Campbell, Joly, Leroux, Létourneau), corporate environmental protection (Rousseau, Janda) and companies' interactions with national and international normative systems (Trudeau and Ellis, Ouellet, Létourneau, Knoppers, Stanton-Jean, Leroux). Within this theme, the area's researchers are taking the specific angle of participatory democracy to conduct major projects investigating and delving deeper into issues concerning human health, for example, on how nanomedicine can improve the well-being of elderly people (Leroux, Stanton-Jean), promotion of emerging technologies in health care (Joly) and genetic testing of newborns (Avard).Thus, in 2010-2011, Professor Thérèse Leroux's team worked on a range of topics, including organ transplants, zoonoses and epizootics, public health care and genetically modified organisms. Professor Leroux is responsible for the GE3LS part of a major project on environmental genetics, in which Professor Trudeau is also collaborating. The funding allocated by Genome Canada and Génome Québec is being used to study the ethical, environmental, legal and societal stakes, in particular with respect to phytoremediation, in other words, the use of plants and microorganisms to decontaminate soils. Moreover, this year Patrick A. Molinari became Professor Emeritus, and Michèle Stanton-Jean defended her PhD thesis and was invited to be Québec's representative on the Permanent Delegation of Canada to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in Paris.