PBK Lecture 2007: Ruth Faden

Ruth Faden, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University, delivered the University of Louisville Phi Beta Kappa lecture on October 30, 2007. The annual PBK lecture is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Kentuckiana, and the Speed Art Museum.

“Ethical Challenges in Embryonic Stem Cell Research” by Dr. Ruth Faden


Nationally recognized bioethicist Ruth Faden delivered the University of Louisville Phi Beta Kappa lecture on October 30, 2007.  Her free, public talk, titled “Ethical Challenges in Embryonic Stem Cell Research,” was held at the Speed Art Museum.

Since the first human embryonic stem cell lines were derived, embryonic stem cell research has been the subject of significant political and social controversy. Federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research was an important issue in the 2004 Presidential election and was emerging as a significant issue in the 2008 elections at the time of this talk.

In this presentation, Dr. Faden discussed the moral concepts and issues that underlie the political controversy, as well as some of the ethical considerations that have not been much addressed in the public debate.

About Dr. Ruth Faden

Dr. Ruth Faden is the Philip Franklin Wagley Professor of Biomedical Ethics and  Executive Director of Johns Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics. She is also a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University.  She has published widely on the issues of biomedical ethics and health policy, on topics including: A History and Theory of  Informed Consent; HIV, AIDS and Childbearing: Public Policy, Private Lives; and most recently Social Justice: The Moral Foundations of Public Health and Health Policy, published by Oxford University Press in 2006. Dr. Faden has served on several national advisory committees and commissions, including the President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, which she chaired.

One of her current research projects is the Hinxton Group, which was created  by the Berman Bioethics Institute in 2004 to explore the ethical and policy  challenges of transnational scientific collaboration raised by variations in  national regulations governing embryo research and stem cell science.  The  Hinxton Group, made up of esteemed international scholars originally called  together for just one meeting, has continued to work together to create a  database of international policies on stem cell research and to promote  discussion on issues in science, ethics and policy.

Ruth Faden

Ruth Faden, 2007 PBK lecturer

About the A&S Life of the Mind Series

Dr. Faden's 2007 Phi Beta Kappa Lecture is presented as an A&S "Life of the Mind" Event. During the Centennial Celebration of 2007, the College of Arts and Sciences created "The Life of the Mind" Series, a special series of public lectures and programs by a fascinating group of guests representing a wide range of intellectual and artistic interests. Events like these are one of the hallmarks of great universities as civic cultural institutions, and one of the goals of the college is to raise the funds to endow "The Life of the Mind" on a permanent basis.