Jeffrey Kahn, PhD, MPH

Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director; Core Faculty; Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy


1809 Ashland Avenue
Room 104
Baltimore, MD 21205
  • Andreas C. Dracopoulos Director
    Robert Henry Levi and Ryda Hecht Levi Professor of Bioethics and Public Policy
    Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Professor
    Dept. of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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.

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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.

Research Interests

  • The intersection of ethics and health/science policy
  • Human and animal research ethics
  • Public health
  • Ethical issues in emerging biomedical technologies.


  • PhD, Georgetown University
  • MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • BA, University of California, Los Angeles

Recent Publications

Falk, MJ, Decherney A, Kahn JP. “Mitochondrial Replacement Techniques—Implications for the Clinical Community,” New England Journal of Medicine, online ahead of print (forthcoming), Feb. 24, 2016.

Claiborne, AB, English, R, Kahn, JP. “Finding an Ethical Path Forward for Mitochondrial Replacement,” Science 351(6274):668-670; February 12, 2016.

Vayena, E, Brownsword R, Edwards SJ, Greshake, B, Kahn JP, et al. “Research Led by Participants: A New Social Contract for a New Kind of Research,” Journal of Medical Ethics 2015; doi:10.1136/medethics-2015-102663.

Geller, G, Dvoskin, R, Thio, CL, et al., and Kahn, JP. “Genomics and Infectious Disease: A Call to Identify the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications for Public Health and Clinical Practice,” Genome Medicine 60:106; 2014.

Kahn, J, Vayena, E, Mastroianni A. “Learning as we Go: Lessons from the Publication of Facebook’s Social-Computing Research,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, PNAS early edition (September 23, 2014),

Kahn, J. “Lessons Learned: Challenges in Applying Current Constraints on Research on Chimpanzees to Other Animals,” Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics February 2014 DOI 10.1007/s11017-014-9284-6.