Research Ethics

Supporting ethical research practices is a core mission of the Berman Institute.

Research ethics spans the range of our work, with projects, teaching, and service efforts overlapping the areas of clinical ethics, public health ethics, and science ethics.

Johns Hopkins is a research intensive university. Providing training and service in research ethics is at the heart of the Berman Institute’s mission, building on more than twenty years of scholarship in this area.


Berman Institute faculty members are active in both scholarly and academic roles but also in many other areas such as institutional review boards and operations, as well as many policy making initiatives. We invite you to learn more about our faculty and their contributions.

View Faculty in Research Ethics


Berman Institute faculty provide required research ethics training at the Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health.  Berman faculty developed an innovative program of research ethics training for Johns Hopkins Medicine and Nursing faculty, staff, and students combining required introductory material with case discussion and seminar options of the learner’s choosing; Berman faculty teach required research ethics courses for PhD and master’s students in the Bloomberg school and provide countless guest lectures across the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses on research ethics.  The Berman Institute has provided research ethics training for African professionals for 15 years through the Fogarty African Bioethics Training Program; training in research ethics also has been provided in multiple countries including China, Pakistan, India, Botswana, Uganda, and Zambia.


Berman faculty have conducted conceptual and empirical scholarship on informed consent through dozens of federally funded projects; work has documented how informed consent works in multiple settings and also created and tested novel interventions; work has occurred both within the U.S. and globally; Ruth Faden also authored a seminal text on informed consent.  Berman faculty have conducted projects on ancillary care commitments, what is owed to participants after studies are completed; incentives in research, participants’ understanding, and IRB quality; more recent work has focused on ethics and learning health care systems; and ethics and animals research. Considerable work has been conducted on the ethics of stem cell research, per above. All of this work, like so much of Berman Institute work, is directly collaborative with the researchers whose projects are being studied.


Berman Institute faculty as a matter of institutional policy, sit on the IRBs of the Schools of Medicine and Public Health.  In addition, the IRB for the All of Us Research program is chaired by Nancy Kass. Faculty also serve as advisors to the IRBs on matters of institutional policy regarding human research. Berman faculty founded and continues to staff the Research Ethics Consultation service. Berman faculty have been members of, staffed, or testified before President Clinton’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, President Clinton’s National Bioethics Advisory Commission; President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, and President Obama’s Commission for the study of Bioethical Issues. Berman faculty have led or served on committees of the National Academy of medicine related to human and to animal research and led work for the National Cancer Institute creating model national guidance on informed consent; Berman faculty have served on multiple Data Safety and Monitoring Boards for federally and privately funded trials including the recent NIH sponsored ebola trials. Berman faculty also lead institutional, statewide, and international policy efforts on ethics and stem cell research, as above.


The following links connect to ongoing and previously completed work, demonstrating the Berman Institute’s leadership and achievements in advancing understanding of research ethics.

Seminar Series
Leading bioethics scholars from around the world lecture on vital issues in the field at our biweekly Seminar Series. Lectures, held at lunchtime, are free and open to the public.
Levi Symposium 2019: Containment: Exploring the History, Politics, and Ethics of Infectious Disease Response in a Post-Genomic World
Levi Symposium considers history, politics and ethics of infectious disease response in a post-genomic world
Genomics and Society Mentorship Program
Open to undergraduate students, the Program enhances diversity among future ethical, legal and social implications researchers
PHASES (Pregnancy & HIV/AIDS: Seeking Equitable Study)
Seeking ethical solutions to advance research at the intersection of women’s reproduction and HIV prevention, treatment, and management
Remembering Daniel Callahan
Ruth Faden reflects on his extraordinary accomplishments and legacy
Cynda Rushton Named to Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame
Berman faculty member recognized for contributions in aging and nursing ethics
Apply: Genomics & Society Mentorship Program
Early Feb. deadline to apply for six undergraduate slots in 10-week Summer 2019 cohort
Berman Faculty share response to human gene editing claims
A renegade. But not a charlatan. That was the opinion of a group of Berman Institute faculty about He Jiankhi, the Chinese scientist who claims to have used the gene-editing tool CRISPR to edit the embryos of twin girls that he said were born last month. In the wake of He’s announcement, the Berman Institute held […]
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