July 12, 2005

Susan Winston
(215) 662-2560


Penn to Provide Bioethics Training to Emerging Scientists
Collaboration with Nationally Recognized Jackson Laboratory

(Philadelphia, PA) -- The Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine will offer a comprehensive bioethics course to high school and college students from across the country who are participating in the prestigious Jackson Laboratory Summer Student Program. Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor, Maine, is the world's largest mammalian genetic research facility.

A central premise behind the course is that ethical training for young people preparing for scientific careers is vital for ensuring ethical conduct during the students’ professional lives. The course will begin with an historical survey of classic cases in bioethics, proceed through themes in research ethics, and conclude with discussions of up-to-the-minute bioethical issues, including stem-cell research and animal research ethics.

“We are honored by the confidence expressed in us by the Jackson Laboratory,” said Arthur Caplan, PhD, director of the Center and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at Penn. “This team-up will allow us to work with some of the brightest young people entering the life sciences in the nation and with one of America’s premier private research institutions.”

Barbara Knowles, PhD, Vice President for Training, Education & External Scientific Collaborations at Jackson Laboratory said “It is crucially important to impart the importance of ethics to students at the front end of their careers, when habits and predispositions are formed early and persist for decades. The University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics has a stellar international reputation, and we’re extremely pleased to be collaborating with them.”

The ethics training component is funded by a three-year National Science Foundation Grant, which begins this summer. The program will be conducted by Dominic A. Sisti, a researcher at Penn’s Center for Bioethics. “With the wide range of ethical issues that most scientists will confront throughout their careers, it’s essential to ensure that they begin early to consider the ethical ramifications and aspects of their work,” said Sisti.

The Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine is a leader in bioethics research and its deployment in the ethical, efficient, and compassionate practice of the life sciences and medicine. The Center has become a world-renowned educational and research enterprise that employs over 20 full and part-time faculty with appointments in a number of schools and departments at Penn including medicine, law, nursing, business, education, philosophy, psychology, sociology, religious studies, public policy, and public health. It is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary.

The Jackson Laboratory, a non-profit institution, is the world's largest mammalian genetic research facility. The laboratory serves the global scientific community as the key provider of critical genetic resources and is a center for training present and future scientists. The Jackson Laboratory is at the forefront of the genetics revolution that is transforming medicine for the benefit of humanity. Additionally, each year the Laboratory supplies universities, medical schools and research laboratories all over the world with approximately two million JAX®Mice from more than 2,500 varieties, 97 percent of which are available only from The Jackson Laboratory.


PENN Medicine is a $2.7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes: its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

This release is available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/jul05/bioethicstrain.htm