Month: August 2015

PROFS Asks Speaker Vos for Transparency and Inclusive Process on UW Colleges/Wisconsin Technical College System Discussion

PROFS is deeply concerned about the private discussion among Assembly Republicans on the possible realignment of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and Extension and the Wisconsin Technical College System.

The following letter was hand delivered to Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) today.

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PROFS Opposes Bill That Limits Scientific Research on Campus

stem_cell_cultures2_01PROFS has officially registered against Assembly Bill 305. The bill, introduced by Representative André Jacque (R-De Pere), would make it illegal to provide or use for experimentation fetal body parts. A public hearing on the bill will be held at 10 am today, Tuesday, August 11, in Room 225 Northwest, State Capitol.

The proposal is the same as one opposed by PROFS in 2011. If passed, AB 305 would criminalize the use of scientific material previously derived from fetal tissue, which includes stem cell lines that have been in use for more than 30 years.

“PROFS has consistently opposed legislation that limits potentially life-saving research on campus,” said Judith Burstyn, PROFS president. “UW-Madison is an international leader in stem cell research, and this legislation could bring that research to a devastating halt.”

Robert Golden, dean of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and John Raymond, president and CEO of the Medical College of Wisconsin, wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the legislation has far-reaching consequences:

“This proposed law only will ensure that promising lines of research will be shut down in Wisconsin. It will cut off work in our state on diseases that cripple and kill children and adults . . .  Some of our best researchers and private companies may be forced to leave Wisconsin in order to continue their work without criminal penalties, and this will have an absolutely chilling effect on the creation of new biotech companies in our state.”

Federal law allows for the use of fetal tissue research, and all research on this campus meets federal guidelines. UW officials believe as many as 100 researchers could be affected by the proposal.

Cures for Tomorrow, an non-partisan advocacy group, released a video (below) in 2013 in opposition to the legislation, noting that the “legislation would criminalize the current development of cures and treatments for the following conditions and diseases: spontaneous pregnancy loss and recurrent miscarriages; Down’s syndrome; infertility; maternal diseases of pregnancy, including preeclampsia, and other such conditions which limit human fertility and reproductive success, and prevent couples from having healthy babies; cancer treatments for diseases like childhood leukemia; improved transplant outcomes; new and more effective vaccines for flu, tuberculosis or typhoid fever or against multi drug resistance bacteria (so called “flesh eating” bacteria); and heart attacks and sudden cardiac death.”


PROFS Welcomes Burstyn as President

burstyn head shotPROFS welcomes Chemistry Professor Judith Burstyn as president and offers many thanks to Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Professor Grant Petty for his service as president in 2014-15. Petty remains a member of the steering committee.

Burstyn, former chair of the University Committee, has served on the PROFS steering committee since 2011. She was an instrumental participant in the lobbying effort that helped secure state bonding for a new Chemistry Building.