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Exploring the nuances and breadth of biomedical science

Health & Science Horizons at Santa Clara University is a series of events designed to enrich student, faculty, and community understanding of modern healthcare topics. Boasting dynamic and eminent speakers, the series features interdisciplinary programs aimed at inspiring an intellectual dialogue across campus and in our community. Health & Science Horizons brings out the best of a Jesuit education, reflecting Santa Clara’s institutional commitment to the pursuit of informed ethical discourse.

Health & Science Horizons is presented in partnership with the Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and SCU Presents - CPA.



Abraham Verghese, M.D.

Wednesday, April 25
7:30 p.m.
Louis B. Mayer Theatre
Advance reservations requested, free


Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship: “Bedside Medicine: Rituals and Reason in the Genomic Age.” Dr. Verghese is Senior Associate Chair and Professor for the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine. As founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, he described the Center’s mission as, “imagining the patient’s experience,” to emphasize the importance of truly caring for the patient. Today he continues to emphasize the importance of bedside medicine and physical examination in a time in medicine when the use of advanced technology frequently results in the patient in the bed getting less attention than the patient data in the computer.


Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Thursday, April 26
12 noon

Williman Room, Benson Memorial Center, $8 cost
Reservations and payment required online. Seating is limited.
Co-sponsored by the Pre-Health Program and The Valley Foundation


Gerald and Sally DeNardo Lectureship:   “A Case for Open-Source Drug Discovery.” How does a cancer cell know it’s a cancer cell? Dr. Bradner, Staff Physician in the Division of Hematologic Malignancies at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Associate Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School, has researched this question in his lab extensively. Having identified the cell’s molecular bookmarks that remind it of its identity, Dr. Bradner and his team have produced a molecule, JQ1, which has shown great promise in subverting the aggressive behavior of cancer cells by altering their identity. Instead of patenting this breakthrough, he and his team have sent samples of JQ1 to labs across the globe in the hope of speeding up open-source drug discovery.


“Moral Formation and the Medical Humanities...”

Thursday, May 3
12:00 p.m.
Wiegand Room
Arts & Sciences Building, free


Ethics at Noon: “Moral Formation and the Medical Humanities: Should Pre-Health Students Be English Majors?” A panel discussion featuring Santa Clara University professors Stephen Carroll, English; Steven Fedder, Chemistry & Biochemistry and Pre-Health Advisor; and Lawrence Nelson, Philosophy. These faculty, who work closely with students preparing for careers in health, will consider the appropriate role of the humanities in their moral formation.


Beyond Bedside Manner: Communication Perspectives on the 'First, Do No Harm' Imperative

Tuesday, May 8
12:00 p.m.
Wiegand Room
Arts & Sciences Building, free


DeNardo Dialogue: A presentation and conversation featuring Laura L. Ellingson, Santa Clara University Associate Professor of Communication and Women’s & Gender Studies. The ‘First, do no harm’ ethical principle implores health care providers to aid patients and if that proves impossible, to at least not harm their patients. Drawing on her own research in medical clinics, Dr. Ellingson will use multiple perspectives from the communication field to illuminate a complex and multi-faceted understanding of ‘doing no harm’ as a communicative act that can foster compassionate and effective patient-health care provider interaction. 


For more information call 408-554-2301 or visit

If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation, please call Marie Brancati at 408-554-2301 (voice) or 1-800-735-2929 (TTY-California Relay) at least 72 hours prior to the event you wish to attend.