Science Ethics

Addressing ethical issues arising from rapid advances in science

Biomedical discovery is at the heart of human progress.

Where advances are made, serious ethical questions are raised about the morality, safety, and consequences of emerging science. The Berman Institute is at the forefront of national and global academic and public policy debates surrounding these questions.


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 Science Ethics


Berman Institute faculty provide lectures and courses in science and ethics generally, the role of the scientist, and in stem cell science ethics and neuroethics more specifically. Teaching is provided to PhD students in genomic sciences to students across multiple Johns Hopkins campuses with a MOOC type course also being developed.


The Berman Institute collaborates with Johns Hopkins and other scientists globally to address growing ethical challenges raised by fields such as stem cell sciencebrain science/neuroscience and genomics. The Berman Institute has been instrumental in convening and helping to draft positions of the Hinxton Group, an international consortium on stem cells, ethics and law that, since 2006, has published highly visible statements on stem cell science and ethics and, in 2015, on ethics and CRISPR (genome editing) technology. The Berman Institute has longstanding depth in genetics and ethics with multiple projects on varied issues posed by new genetic technologies.


Berman Institute faculty have led committees at Johns Hopkins, for the State of Maryland, and for theInternational Society for Stem Cell Research on ethics and stem cell science; have chaired and served on committees for the National Academy of Medicine on ethics and techniques for preventing maternal transmission of mitochondrial DNA diseases, and gene editing and served on other national committees related to ethics and genetic science; the Berman Institute publishes highly subscribed email newsletters providing weekly news roundups on a variety of topics including: ethics and brain science, and ethics and stem cell science. providing key resources for these fields.


The following links connect to ongoing and previously completed work, demonstrating the Berman Institute’s leadership and achievements in advancing understanding of the relationship between scientific discovery and bioethics.

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.
JHU Exploration of Practical Ethics
Stimulating innovative interdisciplinary work that takes on ethical issues arising in professions and scholarly disciplines, within institutions and society
PREVENT (Pregnancy Research Ethics for Vaccines, Epidemics, and New Technologies)
Equitably including the interests of pregnant women and their offspring in vaccine research and development
Hinxton Group – An International Consortium on Stem Cells, Ethics & Law
An international, interdisciplinary group exploring transnational ethical and policy challenges raised by embryo research and stem cell science
Join the Berman Institute at ASBH 2021
A guide to everything Berman Institute-related at the 23rd annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics + Humanities, Oct. 11-16
Debra Mathews and Maria Merritt Elected Hastings Center Fellows
Faculty recognized for outstanding accomplishment regarding ethical issues in health, science, and technology
ASBH 2020
Recapping the Berman Institute at ASBH 2020
An overview of the many Berman Institute-related events at the 22nd annual meeting of the American Society for Bioethics + Humanities
Jeffrey Kahn to Serve on New National Academy of Medicine Committee
Debra Mathews named as academic collaborator to group addressing emerging science, technology, and innovation in health and medicine
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