Life Science Ethics

Ethics Education in the Life Sciences

Through deeper understanding of the life sciences – from genomics to cells, organisms, species, and ecosystems – and emerging biotechnologies, the life sciences will fundamentally transform human society in the twenty first century and beyond. Grappling with the ethical and humanistic dimensions of biology is vital to direct this transformative potential to benefit individuals, society, and the world.  That’s why we created the Life Science Ethics Program.

The program cultivates a culture in the School of Life Sciences that contributes to ASU’s commitment to “advancing research and discovery of public value” and “transforming society” as laid out in the university’s charter and design aspirations. Students, faculty, and staff in our school have unique opportunities to explore the societal and ethical implications of life sciences research and education.

Events

Program events provide opportunities for anyone in the school to engage current issues at the intersection of ethics and the life sciences. You’ll find information on Movie nights and Bioethics breakfast club below. 

Embedded ethics

The program supports the school’s faculty incorporating ethics in courses, curriculum, and degree programs. Undergraduates begin exploring the ethical and social dimensions of biology in Introduction Biology with short modules on fundamental questions raised by scholars in these fields and an environmental ethics lab.  Graduate students engage in conversations with peers on professional standards for researchers in BIO 610, Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research in the Life Sciences. 

Undergraduate courses

The Human Dimensions Faculty offer a robust set of ethics courses both in-person and online.  Regular classes include:

  • BIO 311: “Biology and Society” (3)
  • BIO 312: "Bioethics" (3)
  • BIO 324: "Environmental Ethics" (3)
  • BIO 416/HPS 410: "Biomedical Research Ethics" (3)

Graduate courses

The Human Dimensions Faculty offer a robust set of graduate ethics courses. Regular classes include:

  • BIO 527: "Environmental Ethics & Policy Goals" (3)
  • BIO 598: “Big Data in Context: Ethics, Policy, History and Philosophy (1)
  • BIO 598: “Neuroscience, Ethics & the Law” (2)
  • BIO 598: "Advanced Topics in Bioethics" (3)
  • BIO 610: "Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research" (1)
  • BIO 611: "Advanced Topics in Responsible Conduct of Research" (1)

Events

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BioEthics Breakfast Club presents: "Monkey Pox" with Bery Jacobs and Lindsay Smith

Come learn about monkeypox vaccines, how the framing of monkeypox has impacted distribution of vaccines, and how social perceptions of disease have historically contributed to availability of treatment for viral infection. RSVP for bagels, coffee and zoom details.

Wednesday, Sept. 21
9 - 10 a.m.

Karin Ellison 
Life Science Ethics Program 
Karin.Ellison@asu.edu

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BioEthics Breakfast Club presents: "Human Dog Interactions" with Clive Wynne and Matt Chew

Does your dog have a good life? And, more importantly, how can you tell? Come talk about this, and similar dog-centric topics, with comparative psychologist Clive Wynne and biology and society faculty member Matt Chew. RSVP for bagels, coffee and zoom details.

Wednesday, Oct. 19
9 - 10 a.m.

Karin Ellison 
Life Science Ethics Program 
Karin.Ellison@asu.edu

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Rethinking Regeneration

Jim Collins and Kate MacCord and have been part of a project examining the idea of regeneration across scales, and both have book manuscripts in process.  Join them to learn about insights they have gained into cellular and ecosystem regeneration and to ask what new social and ethical questions arise from their research and comparative approach to regeneration. RSVP for bagels, coffee and zoom details.

Wednesday, Nov. 30
9 - 10 a.m.

Karin Ellison 
Life Science Ethics Program 
Karin.Ellison@asu.edu

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Movie night

Join us as we screen popular films with themes that relate to life science ethics, followed by a panel discussion with faculty and graduate students whose work overlaps with the themes of the film.

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Bioethics breakfast club

Faculty, undergraduates, and graduate students from our school meet over bagels and coffee to talk about emerging issues in ethics and the life sciences. 

Contact information

Advisory Board

An advisory board, with members from each of the SOLS faculty groups, works with the director to set program strategic directions and engage the SOLS community.