Topics in Biology: Frontiers in bioethics

Journal of Bioethics: Cover

Time: Wed 1:10 to 2:00 PM
Location: 415 Schapiro
Course format: one credit seminar

Prerequisites: at least one lower-level full year course in biology. A background in history or philosophy is recommended.

Course description: In this seminar, participants will examine how new biotechnologies (such as human cloning, transgenic technologies, new reproductive technologies, genomics, and proteomics) impact medical ethics and bioethics. Participants will analyze the interactions between scientific advances, ethics and Western society. The goal is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding how emerging biomedical technologies impact bioethical and social issues.

Sample syllabus topics:

1. Fundamental principles of bioethics and medical ethics.

2. Concise history of bioethics: tensions elicited by scientific discovery.

3. Genetic testing and screening for human diseases.

4. Transgenic technology, human reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning.

5. Stem cell technology and organ transplantation.

6. Frontiers in Infertility and Reproductive Technology.

7. Eugenics and genetic engineering.

8. Impact of Forensic medicine and bio terrorism on society.

9. Impact of social values, religion and politics on bioethical issues

10. Evolution vs creation.

11. Scientific fraud and conflict of interest

Students will be required to actively participate in class and their grade will be based on class participation, writing an op ed piece for the midterm and a creative 5 page term paper for the final. Readings will include primary scientific papers and the subsequent bioethical essays that analyze the impact of this research on society.