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Irreducible Subjects: Disability and Genomics in the Past, Present and Future 

Event Details

The National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and the University at Buffalo Center for Disability Studies will hold a two-day symposium entitled, “Irreducible Subjects: Disability and Genomics in the Past, Present and Future."

The symposium will address historical and present-day constructions of disability and ableism, with a focus on the history and lived experiences of people with disabilities in the context of genetics and genomics.

This event aims to develop a fuller account of the lives and experiences of people with disabilities. Conversations will link disability rights to wider NIH discussions and around inclusivity, intersectionality, equity and social justice.

Participants will discuss how disability and ability are connected to both historical and present-day eugenics, scientific and structural racism, heteronormativity, misogyny, imperialism and colonialism. Speakers will consider how scientific program funding language — and NIH communications — can better address the complexity of disability, health and wellness. 


Save the date - Virtual

Call for Presentations and Papers

We invite scholars to submit ideas to be one of approximately six speakers at our symposium, with an additional opportunity to join a collected set of papers on the same theme.

NHGRI seeks presenters who will help attendees:

  • interrogate the meaning of disability today and its connections to genetics, genomics and contemporary medicine.
  • understand the revolutionary realities and potential of genome sequencing technologies in the context of disability. 
  • improve how scientists, clinicians, genetic counselors and science communicators engage with the complexities of disability, building existing efforts on the NIH campus and at NHGRI. 
  • guide NHGRI and the NIH as we seek to improve our dialogue with the disability community about genomic medicine and the realities of disability in the genomic era. 
  • ensure that the promise of genomics is accessible to all.   

For more details and a list of preferred presentation themes, read our official call for presentations and papers. Please email all submissions to nhgrihistory@mail.nih.gov no later than June 30, 2022. 


Check back later for an updated agenda.

Request an Accommodation

Sign language interpreting and CART services are available upon request to participate in this event. Individuals needing either of these services and/or other reasonable accommodations should contact Britny Kish at britny.kish@nih.gov, 240-381-1283. Requests should be made at least five days in advance. To access Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS), call 711. 

Last updated: May 24, 2022