Research Programs

Genomics Research into the human genome has opened a channel from "pure research" into biomedicine, based on the unique DNA sequences carried by each individual. We now have a growing capability to carry out genetic assessments that can predict future health challenges and foster individualized medicine, informed family planning, and lifestyle changes. These new technologies are having profound effects on the practice of medical care, the biotechnology industry, and how we think about ourselves and our families.

The Biomedical Ethics & Medical Humanities Scholarly Concentration (BEMH) is part of the new initiative at Stanford University School of Medicine to enable medical students to study a chosen area in depth as a complement to the breadth of knowledge and skills gained by general medical education. BEMH is an opportunity for interested students to reflect on, analyze, and contribute to the meaning of medicine by focusing on one (or more!) of the diverse fields that contribute to bioethics and/or the arts and humanities as related to medicine.

End of Life Care Strategies and technologies that have enabled medicine to prolong life may also prolong an inevitable death. Projects at the Center explore the degree of fit between the bioethics practices governing end-of-life decision-making and the values and preferences held by individuals, families, and communities.

Neuroethics The program in Neuroethics at Stanford is devoted to the exploration of a wide range of ethical, social and legal challenges posed by advances in the neurological sciences. Program in Neuroethics

Cultural Diversity Research conducted at the Center acknowledges the demographic changes that are occurring in this country and the subsequent need for health care providers and institutions to be responsive to these changes. Inquiries into the values and perspectives held by diverse populations help us to develop effective strategies for improving cultural competency and sensitivity. Central to these strategies is the recognition of medicine itself as a cultural system with its own values, practices, and language.

Biomedical Ethics in Film Program , launched in 1998 under the leadership of Dr. Maren Grainger-Monsen, specializes in producing innovative films that inspire medical students and the general public to experience and question the ethical dilemmas facing healthcare today.

Science, Technology, Medicine and Society SCBE researchers study the interactions between science, technology and society, including emerging, unanticipated ethical and social concerns, the implications of changes in the way science is conducted (for example, patenting and commercialization issues) and implications of new technologies in terms of access and social justice, the way they may affect concepts of race and gender, and effects on clinical and basic research practice.

Business Ethics The pharmaceutical, biotechnology, device, and other industries depend heavily on and are involved to an unprecedented extent in academic biomedical research. Academic-industry relationships may be critical to the development of new products for clinical use, but also can give rise to conflicts of interest for researchers and clinicians. These relationships can also cause conflicts between business ethics and medical or research ethics. SCBE scholars study the nature and effects of these conflicts of interest on clinical practice and research.

Past Research