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.

JHU Exploration of Practical Ethics
The JHU Exploration of Practical Ethics Program aims to stimulate innovative work in practical ethics - an interdisciplinary field of study 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
The 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
Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences
Ensuring that research in brain science proceeds with an informed and sophisticated understanding of attendant ethical and social issues
Prof. Unguru Decries Drug Shortages
Berman faculty member urges FDA to uphold basic human right of access to essential medicines
Berman Institute Announces 2018-19 Seminar Series
Free and open to the public, lunchtime lecture series hosts top national experts in bioethics