March 31, 2005

Nicole A. Gaddis
(215) 349-5657


Bioethics Conference at the University of Pennsylvania to Feature National Experts

(Philadelphia, PA) – The Penn Bioethics Society of the University of Pennsylvania will host the 8th Annual National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference on April 1 and 2, 2005. Leading national bioethicists addressing the conference include Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics at Penn’s School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Bioethics; Mike Gazzaniga, PhD, Dean of Dartmouth College and member of the President’s Council on Bioethics; and Harold Shapiro, PhD, President Emeritus, Princeton University and former Chair, National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

The conference, entitled “The Brain and Beyond...,” will feature keynote and panel presentations addressing pressing questions about new technologies and methodologies as well as philosophical and moral problems raised by these advances. Participants include leaders in the fields of clinical medicine, law, journalism, business, ethics, and philosophy. The opening keynote address, Ethics and the Brain, will be delivered by Dr. Gazzaniga.

Highlights of the conference include:

  • Dr. Caplan will address the conference at Philadelphia’s historic College of Physicians and Mutter Museum on the topic “The Rights and Wrongs of Eugenics: What Can We Learn from the Past?”
  • A former FDA regulator will answer the question “Is the system safe?” in the breakout session “Data Monitoring and Data Disclosure in Clinical Trial: Who Knows What, and When?”
  • Andrew Newberg, MD, from Penn’s School of Medicine, will talk about brain imaging and religion in “Why Morality Won’t Go Away”
  • Leading experts in healthcare litigation and the protection of human research subjects will outline emerging trends in tort law.
  • Nationally recognized leaders in industry, politics, and academia will discuss new lie-detection technologies, including military-funded designs for the intelligence community.
  • Penn Cognitive Psychologist Martha Farah, PhD will address the pressing issue of Stimulant Use on College Campuses.
  • Prominent philosophers will outline new theories on the philosophy of the mind and the impact of psycho-pharmaceutical use on humans, including court-ordered and school-mandated usage.
  • Penn President Amy Gutmann, PhD will address the audience at lunch, followed by a talk from Carl Zimmer, author of “Soul Made Flesh” titled “Neuroethics, 1665”

The Penn Bioethics Society is a group of undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania aiming to promote the awareness of ethical, social, medical, and legal issues brought about by increased knowledge in science and technology. The conference schedule and a full list of speakers is available at the conference website,


The media are welcome to attend this event. Please contact Nicole A. Gaddis at (215) 349-5657 to register.

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 #3 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.

Penn Health System is comprised of: 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; 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