Research & Scholarship

Faculty research and scholarship provides the foundation of the Center for Bioethics’ mission to advance understanding concerning ethical issues in biomedical research, health care and the life sciences, with a focus on the rights and interests of patients, research participants, and the public. Our research and scholarship focus on issues concerning:
  • Social justice, health equity and the social and environmental determinants of health

  • Clinical care, across the continuum of care, that promotes patients’ rights and well-being 

  • Ethical and socially responsible scientific research

Debra DeBruin, PhD

Interim Director, Director of Graduate Studies, and Associate Professor
Expertise: Social Justice | Gender Equity | Public Health Policy | Vulnerability in Research

Dr. Debra DeBruin primarily works on issues in public health ethics and the ethics of health policy, with a focus on concerns about social justice and health equity. Much of this work addresses issues of gender and the promotion of public health in resource poor settings. She also has done substantial work on...

Carl Elliott, MD, PhD

Professor
Expertise: Research Ethics | Pharmaceutical Industry | Biomedical Enhancements | Psychiatry

Dr. Carl Elliott’s scholarship is largely devoted to the protection of vulnerable research subjects, especially those who are economically impoverished or mentally ill. He also works on ethical issues surrounding healthy subjects in Phase I clinical trials, especially issues involving payment to subjects. Elliott is the author...

Joan Liaschenko, PhD, RN, HEC-C, FAAN

Professor
Expertise: Nursing Ethics | Home Care Services | Patient Advocacy | Terminal Care | Health Care Delivery 

Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Joan Liaschenko’s research has focused on understanding the ethical concerns embedded in clinical practice, most commonly: the issues nurses define as ethical problems, how they articulate them, and how they solve them. Her reserach has included exploring...

Jennifer Needle, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor
Expertise: Advance Care Planning | Pediatrics | Palliative Care | Clinical Ethics

Dr. Jennifer Needle’s clinical work is within the Pediatric ICU at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital. As the sole member of the faculty in the Department of Pediatrics with an appointment in the Center for Bioethics, she serves as a resource to students, residents, and faculty...

Leigh Turner, PhD

Associate Professor
Expertise: Health Care Ethics | Stem Cells | Regenerative Medicine | Science Policy | Medical Tourism | Emerging Medical Technologies

Dr. Leigh Turner’s primary research addresses ethical, legal, and social issues related to companies selling unproven and unlicensed “stem cell treatments.” He is the lead author of the Cell Stem Cell article, “Selling Stem Cells in the USA: Assessing the Direct-to-Consumer Industry” - the first empirical study to systematically document the...