Susan is an author with a long-time interest in religion and science. She currently edits Covalence, the Lutheran Alliance for Faith, Science and Technology’s online magazine. She has written articles in The Lutheran and the Zygon Center for Religion and Science newsletter. Susan is a board member for the Center for Advanced Study of Religion and Science, the supporting organization for the Zygon Center and the Zygon Journal. She also co-wrote Our Bodies Are Selves with Dr. Philip Hefner and Dr. Ann Pederson.

Arizona State University researchers are the latest to be awarded a John Templeton Foundation grant on how ideas of craftwork and soulwork can transform laboratory culture.

The effort is by a team of researchers from the university’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics, the School of Life Sciences and the Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. The group will look at the religious traditions embracing craftwork, the small steps one takes to complete their job, as a means of “soulwork,” which is defined as the progression of one’s spiritual purpose.

The research will create an “open-access, revisable toolkit for scientific researchers, specifically those at the forefront of genomic and genome editing” in order to understand how craftwork has an impact on human life. 

Over the next two years, the team will conduct preliminary research in the three participating labs to further understand how craftwork and soulwork can benefit scientific researchers and their work.

The project is led by Gaymon Bennett, associate director of the Lincoln Center and associate professor of religion, science and technology. He is joined on the project by fellow ASU humanists Erica O’Neil, J. Benjamin Hurlbut and Jason Robert; ASU neurobiologists B. Blair Braden, Stephen Helms Tillery and Sarah Stabenfeldt; as well as Gil Stafford, director of the Wisdom’s Way school of spiritual direction, and Carolyn Forbes, assistant director of ASU’s Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict. 

“Geneticists are responsible for researching our collective biological future, but we expect them to also commodify those futures in the process,” O’Neil said. “That same responsibility for our future is also felt by leaders of spiritual practice across traditions, thus creating opportunity for shared wisdom.”

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