Stavros Niarchos Foundation Bioethics Academy

The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics (JHU) in conjunction with the Bioethics Chair at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) have launched a new initiative called the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Bioethics Academy (SNFBA). The SNFBA is exclusively supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) and was created with the intent to support and enhance knowledge and awareness for bioethics in Greece.

The three main components of the SNFBA are:

  1. An intensive bioethics summer course offered every June, beginning in 2019, in Athens, Greece;
  2. Annual in-depth workshops alternating between Zurich, Switzerland (hosted at ETH) and Baltimore, USA (hosted by JHU), beginning winter 2021;
  3. An alumni network that provides ongoing connections with other Greek bioethics professionals, resources and information through a dedicated website, and virtual discussions via webinar.

Summer Bioethics Course

June 20-22, 2019
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The SNFBA invites applications to participate in the 2019 Summer Bioethics Course.  The course is co-directed by Prof. Jeffrey Kahn, the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics (JHU), and Prof. Effy Vayena, Head of the Health Ethics and Policy Lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH).

The inaugural Bioethics Summer Course in 2019 is a three-day course including lectures by international faculty followed by small group discussions facilitated by JHU and ETH faculty and Greek bioethics experts. The small group discussions will include cases specific to the Greek context.  Topics will include ethical issues that are arising across biomedical research and clinical medicine.

Professionals working in Greek institutions in the following areas:

  • Biomedical Researchers
  • Clinical researchers
  • Members of Ethics & Deontology Committees
  • Researchers involved with biobanks


The SNFBA is a free program, exclusively supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). Free lodging will be provided to those who request it, at the Athens Marriott adjacent to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Participation is limited to the first 40 registrants.

2019 Summer bioethics Course program

Click here to view and print the program.

The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is not involved in the evaluation of applications or selection of participants in any way.

Apply Now - Deadline for applications is June 7, 2019 (but may close earlier if 40-person capacity is reached)

Intensive Summer Course Faculty


Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH - Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH
Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director; Core Faculty; Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy

Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH, is the Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, a position he assumed in July 2016. From 2011, he has been the inaugural Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy.  He is also Professor in the Dept. of Health Policy and Management of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  He works in a variety of areas of bioethics, exploring the intersection of ethics and health/science policy, including human and animal research ethics, public health, and ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies.

Prof. Kahn has served on numerous state and federal advisory panels. He is currently chair of National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Board on Health Sciences Policy, and has previously chaired its committee on the Use of Chimpanzees in Biomedical and Behavioral Research (2011); the committee on Ethics Principles and Guidelines for Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflights (2014); and a committee on the Ethical, Social, and Policy Considerations of Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques (2016).  He also formerly served as a member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee.

In addition to committee leadership and membership, Prof. Kahn is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and an elected Fellow of The Hastings Center.  He was also the founding president of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors, an office he held from 2006-2010.

Prof. Kahn is a co-principal investigator with Berman Institute faculty member Gail Geller, ScD, MHS, on GUIDE: Genomic Uses in Infectious Disease and Epidemics, an NIH-funded project to study the largely unexplored ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) of genomics as applied to infectious disease.

Prof. Kahn’s publications include Contemporary Issues in BioethicsBeyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research; and Ethics of Research With Human Subjects: Selected Policies and Resources, as well as over 125 scholarly and research articles.  He also speaks widely across the U.S. and around the world on a range of bioethics topics, in addition to frequent media outreach.  From 1998-2002 he wrote the bi-weekly column Ethics Matters on Prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, Prof. Kahn was Director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Minnesota.

Effy Vayena, PhD - Chair in Bioethics, ETH Zurich
Effy Vayena
Chair in Bioethics, ETH Zurich

Effy Vayena is a Professor of Bioethics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and renowned expert at the intersection of medicine, data, and ethics. Her work focuses on important societal issues of data and technology as they relate to scientific progress and how it is or should be applied to public and personal health.

Vayena completed her education as a social historian with a PhD in Medical History from the University of Minnesota. A keen interest in health policy has led her to work with the World Health Organization. Upon her return to academia, Vayena was awarded a professorship by the Swiss National Science Foundation. She founded the Health Ethics and Policy Lab to tackle pressing questions that arise through technological advances such as genomic technologies and big data analytics in healthcare and research.

She received her habilitation from the University of Zurich in the field of bioethics and policy and has been appointed a Visiting Professor at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where she was previously a Fellow. She is a member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences and chairs the Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications advisory group of the Swiss Personalized Health Network, a national infrastructure and research program aiming to advance personalized health in Switzerland.

Vayena is a leading expert in the dynamic and diverse field of health data and ethics, successfully leveraging her academic work and international network to promote a fruitful debate about the ethics of health in the digital age. She has previously worked with the Wellcome Trust, OECD, Commonwealth Fund, Chatham House, and academic institutions and governments around the world.

Lecturing Faculty

Tom Beauchamp, PhD - Georgetown University (Emeritus)
Tom Beauchamp
Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University

Dr. Beauchamp was Professor of Philosophy in addition to his role at Georgtown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics. He took graduate degrees from Yale University and The Johns Hopkins University, where he received his PhD in 1970. He then joined the faculty of the Philosophy Department at Georgetown, and in the mid-70s accepted a joint appointment at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics. In late 1975, he joined the staff of the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research, where he wrote the bulk of The Belmont Report (1978).

Dr. Beauchamp’s research interests are in the ethics of human-subjects research, the place of universal principles and rights in biomedical ethics, methods of bioethics, Hume and the history of modern philosophy, and business ethics. Beauchamp co-edited (with George G. Brenkert) The Oxford Handbook of Business Ethics, and edited a 1,000-page book of original articles, The Oxford Handbook of Ethics and Animals: a comprehensive, state-of-the-art presentation of the field not possible until very recently.

In 2004, Dr. Beauchamp was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) in recognition of outstanding contributions and significant publications in bioethics and the humanities. In 2003, he was presented Georgetown University’s Career Recognition Award, which is awarded to a faculty member in the University each year for distinguished research across an entire career. In 1994, Indiana University awarded Beauchamp its “Memorial Award for Furthering Greater Understanding and Exchange of Opinions between the Professions of Law and Medicine.”

Alessandro Blasimme, PhD - ETH Zurich
Alessandro Blasimme
Senior Researcher in Bioethics

Alessandro Blasimme holds an MA in bioethics from La Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), as well as a PhD in bioethics from the University of Milan – European School of Molecular Medicine (Italy). He has held research appointments at the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) as well as the University of Zürich (Switzerland), before joining the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zürich) as a senior researcher in bioethics in 2017. In 2013 he received a Fulbright-Schuman Scholarship to undertake research at the Program on Science, Technology and Society, Harvard University (USA) where he was a fellow. His research focuses on ethical and policy issues in biomedical innovation and biotechnology. His areas of expertise include translational medicine, precision medicine, regenerative medicine, genetic engineering, digital health and ageing. He has published widely in leading bioethics and medical journals and he is principal investigator in large European research consortia. He is currently a guest editor for a special issue (December 2019) on genome editing of the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics.

Ruth Faden, PhD, MPH - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH
Berman Institute Founder; Core Faculty; Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics

Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH, is the founder of the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She was the Berman Institute’s Director from 1995 until 2016, and the inaugural Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director (2014-­2016). Dr. Faden was, and is currently, the inaugural Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics. In the twenty years in which Dr. Faden led the Berman Institute, she transformed what was an informal interest group of faculty across Johns Hopkins into a one of the world’s premier bioethics programs with over 35 faculty, 30 staff and over 100 alumni. Under her direction, the Berman Institute became a university­wide unit of Johns Hopkins with its own building, reporting to the Provost. Dr. Faden also secured a significant endowment for the Berman Institute, including six endowed professorships and an endowed directorship.


Dr. Faden is a leading scholar in the field of bioethics. She is the author and editor of numerous books and many articles on biomedical ethics and public policy, including most significantly Social Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy (with Madison Powers), A History and Theory of Informed Consent (with Tom L. Beauchamp), Structural Injustice: Power, Advantage, and Human Rights (with Madison Powers; forthcoming, Oxford University Press).


Dr. Faden’s current research focuses on structural justice theory, and on national and global challenges in food and agriculture, learning health care systems, health systems design and priority setting, and access to the benefits of global investments in biomedical research. Dr. Faden also works on ethical challenges in biomedical science, with a particular focus on women’s health and the rights and interests of pregnant women.


Dr. Faden is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center and the American Psychological Association. She has served on numerous national advisory committees and commissions, including President William Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, which she chaired. Dr. Faden co­launched the Global Food Ethics and Policy Program, sponsor of the 7 by 5 Agenda for Ethics and Global Food Security. She is also a co­founder of the Hinxton Group, a global community committed to advancing ethical and policy challenges in stem cell science, and the Second Wave initiative, an effort to ensure that the health interests of pregnant women are fairly represented in biomedical research and drug and device policies.

In 2011, Dr. Faden was the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH) and Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research (PRIMR).

Nancy Kass, ScD - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
Nancy E. Kass, ScD
Deputy Director for Public Health; Core Faculty; Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health

Nancy Kass, ScD, is Vice-Provost for Graduate and Professional Education for Johns Hopkins University; she also is the Phoebe R. Berman Professor of Bioethics and Public Health, in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Deputy Director for Public Health in the Berman Institute of Bioethics. In 2009-2010, Dr. Kass was based in Geneva, Switzerland, where she was working with the World Health Organization (WHO) Ethics Review Committee Secretariat.

Dr. Kass received her BA from Stanford University, completed doctoral training in health policy from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, and was awarded a National Research Service Award to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in bioethics at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University. Dr. Kass conducts empirical work in bioethics and health policy. Her publications are primarily in the field of U.S. and international research ethics, HIV/AIDS ethics policy, public health ethics, and ethics of public health preparedness. She is co-editor of HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives (Oxford University Press, 1996).

Dr. Kass currently chairs the national Precision Medicine Initiative central IRB and she serves on the Health and Medicine Division committee of the National Academy of Medicine. Previously, she co-chaired the National Cancer Institute Committee to develop Recommendations for Informed Consent Documents for Cancer Clinical Trials, and served on the NCI’s central IRB.  She has served as consultant to the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and to the National Academy of Sciences. Current research projects examine ethics for a learning healthcare system, informed consent in randomized trials, ethics issues that arise in international health research and ethics and outbreak response.

Dr. Kass teaches the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s course on U.S. and International Research Ethics and Integrity, served as director of the PhD program in bioethics and health policy for 15 years, and is the director of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program. Dr. Kass is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MA, MPH - Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA
Deputy Director for Medicine; Core Faculty; Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine

Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, is the Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and deputy director for medicine of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins University. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of biomedical ethics with particular expertise in applying empirical methods and evidence-based standards for evaluating and analyzing bioethical issues. His contributions to both medical ethics and policy include his work on the ethics of informed consent, umbilical cord blood banking, stem cell research, international HIV prevention research, global health and research oversight.Dr. Sugarman is the author of over 300 articles, reviews and book chapters.  He has also edited or co-edited four books (Beyond Consent: Seeking Justice in Research; Ethics of Research with Human Subjects: Selected Policies and Resources; Ethics in Primary Care;and Methods in Medical Ethics).  Dr. Sugarman is a contributing editor for IRB and is on the editorial boards of several academic journals.

Dr. Sugarman consults and speaks internationally on a range of issues related to bioethics. He served as senior policy and research analyst for the White House Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, consultant to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission, and Senior Advisor to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. He also served on the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission.

He was the founding director of the Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities and History of Medicine at Duke University where he was also a professor of medicine and philosophy. He is a faculty affiliate of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and an Academic Icon of the University of Malaya.

Dr. Sugarman is currently a member of the Scientific and Research Advisory Board for the Canadian Blood Service and the Ethics and Public Policy Committees of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. He is co-chair of the Johns Hopkins’ Institutional Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee. In addition, he is chair of the Ethics Working Group of the HIV Prevention Trials Network and co-leads the Ethics and Regulatory Core of the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory.

Dr. Sugarman has been elected as a member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation, Association of American Physicians, and the Institute of Medicine. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American College of Physicians and the Hastings Center.

Group Discussion Facilitators

Olga Tzortzatou - Biomedical Research Academy, Athens

Olga Tzortzatou is a Doctor in Law. Her academic research focuses on the legal and ethical implications related to biomedical research and she has participated in numerous EU funded projects as a legal & ethics scientific advisor (e.g B3Africa, SiENNA project (affiliated with CRB, Uppsala University), EATRIS, 1 and Million Genomes Project, etc.). Since 2007 she has held a position as a lawyer at the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA). She is also an external ethics expert at the European Commission DG Research & Innovation, a Member of Democritus Univeristy and the Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens Research Ethics Committee and an active member of the ELSI BBMRI-ERIC team since 2015.

In-Depth winter two-day Workshops

These workshops will alternate between Zurich, Switzerland (hosted at ETH) and Baltimore,  U.S.A. (hosted at JHU) and will include faculty from the Summer Course along with additional visiting faculty. Approximately 20 attendees will be invited per workshop, based on their interest in further training and education in bioethics and their aptitude for bioethics.

Workshop content will be topical and developed with input from the selected participants.  The program will include presentations by all participants, intensive case analysis and consultation (with at least some actual cases provided by participants), train-the-trainer exercises so that participants can return to their institutions/workplaces to help educate their peers, and additional specialized content.

Alumni Network

The third component of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Bioethics Academy will be an Alumni Network created for summer course participants, all of whom will automatically be members.

In addition to providing news, resources and information via a dedicated SNFBA website, email, and social media channels, the network will be a means for staying in touch with other SNFBA alumni in Greece and bioethics faculty at JHU and ETH. The network will host virtual discussions via webinar and convene in-person reunions and events in conjunction with the timing of the annual summer course and SNF Annual International Conference in Athens.