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At the Center

Capturing the lively discussions, presentations, and other events that make up the daily activities of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The following postings have been filtered by category Bioethics. clear filter
  •  Health Care Ethics Internship (VIDEO)

    Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014 4:08 PM

    In our latest video, Briana Britton, Center Health Care Ethics Intern 2012-13, reflects on her formative experiences shadowing physicians and nurses, and highlights Santa Clara University's commitment to the 3 C's: "Conscience, Competence, and Compassion."

    "Through this program," Briana states,"I felt like I could really fulfill the Jesuit philosophy of serving others. It was also rruly a formative experience for me as a future medical professional."

    SCU students can apply for the 2014-15 Internship Program until March 7. Applications for our Health Care Ethics Internship Program, in which SCU students learn about ethical dilemmas from physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, are available at the link. Deadline for 2014 is March 7, 2014.

  •  Is Biological Evolution Compatible With a Moral Conscience?

    Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013 2:00 PM
    Francisco Ayala will speak on Biological Evolution and Moral Conscience

    November 7, 5:00 pm Learning Commons and Library, St. Clare Room

    Can we still retain a notion of moral conscience in the face of the findings and claims of evolutionary biology? What does "conscience" mean  in light of a number of crucial theoretical and practical challenges of the present day, particularly as they intersect with Catholic thought? Francisco Ayala, professor of biological sciences, ecology, and evolutionary biology, UC Irvine, presents. He is a former Dominican priest, ordained in 1960, but left the priesthood that same year. After graduating from the University of Salamanca, he moved to the US in 1961 to study for a PhD at Columbia University. There, he studied for his doctorate under Theodosius Dobzhansky, graduating in 1964. He became a US citizen in 1971.

    Ayala is known for his research on population and evolutionary genetics, and has been called the "Renaissance Man of Evolutionary Biology." His discoveries have opened up new approaches to the prevention and treatment of diseases that affect hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide, including demonstrating the reproduction of Trypanosoma cruzi, the agent of Chagas disease, is mostly the product of cloning, and that only a few clones account for most of this widespread, mostly untreatable South American disease that affects 16 million to 18 million people. He has been publicly critical of U.S. restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. He currently serves on the advisory board of the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, an organization that has lobbied Congress to lift federal restrictions on funding embryonic stem cell research. In 2001, Ayala was awarded the National Medal of Science.

    We are fortunate to present this program in part through the generosity of the Project on Conscience in Roman Catholic Thought, funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea.

    Co-sponsored by The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and The Commonwealth Club of California, Silicon Valley Chapter.

    Join us online for live tweeting of this event! Follow @mcaenews, #ethicsayala



  •  Upcoming Event October 9 - Stem Cells, Cloning, and the Conscience of a Nation

    Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 4:27 PM

    William Hurlbut, a physician and Consulting Professor, Stanford University Neuroscience Institute, explores the ethical issues associated with advancing biomedical technology, the biological basis of moral awareness, and the integration of theology and philosophy of biology. His courses in biomedical ethics in the Program in Human Biology have included: Biology, Technology and Human Life, and Ethical Issues in the Neurosciences. He has worked with NASA on projects in astrobiology, and since 1998 has been a member of the Chemical and Biological Warfare working group at the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation.

    Hurlbut has come to national prominence for his advocacy of Altered Nuclear Transfer (ANT), a scientific method of obtaining pluripotent stem cells without the creation and destruction of human embryos. He has spoken all over the world on the intrinsic dignity of human life, including the moral value of the human embryo. In mid-2007, he was the guest of the BBC World Service Radio programme, The Interview. In 2009, commentary from Dr. Hurlbut was featured in the futurist documentary "Transcendent Man." In 2010, he was featured in the award winning film, "The Human Experience."

    We are fortunate to present this program in part through the generosity of the Project on Conscience in Roman Catholic Thought, funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea.

    You're Invited to Tweet! Tweet with us on this topic before, during, and after the event at: #ethicscells and/or #conscienceproject. Follow us on Twitter at @mcaenews

    JOIN US OCTOBER 9, 12 pm - 1, Wiegand Room, Arts and Sciences Building

  •  Robot Morality Will Explore Machines and Conscience

    Thursday, Sep. 19, 2013 3:50 PM

    Can we outsource morality to a robot? This isn't just a question for a sci-fi movie. It's a question that arises from rapid advances in the field of robotics. Engineers, for instance, have tried to program robots to make moral decisions, particularly when the stakes are high. George Lucas, of the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, will address this topic, particularly as it pertains to the military's increasing reliance on these robots.

    Lucas is Class of 1984 Distinguished Chair in Ethics in the Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis), and Professor of Ethics and Public Policy at the Graduate School of Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School (Monterey, CA). He has taught at Georgetown University, Emory University, Randolph-Macon College, the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium, and served as Philosophy Department Chairman at the University of Santa Clara in California. He has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Commission and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has served three times (in 1986, 1990, and 2004) as director of National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes for College and University Faculty.

    We are fortunate to present this program in part through the generosity of the Project on Conscience

    in Roman Catholic Thought, funded by Phyllis and Mike Shea.

    Co-sponsored by Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and The Commonwealth Club of California, Silicon Valley.

    You're Invited to Tweet!
    Tweet with us on this topic before, during, and after the event at: #ethicsrobot and/or #conscienceproject.
    Find us on Twitter at @mcaenews

  •  Biotechnology Ethics Poster Session Fosters Lively Discussion on Today's Key Issues

    Thursday, Jun. 6, 2013 3:07 PM

    Approximately 30 Biol171 students presented an educational and informative Poster Session this morning, sponsored by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the Bioengineering Department, and the University Honors Program. Their assignment, given by instructors Margaret McLean and Leilani Miller, was to select a biotech topic and present the ethical issues and concerns it raises. Topics with titles such as "Gene Patenting: Research Incentive or Inhibitor?" "Perfect Babies: Living in a Genetic Playground," and "Creating the Automated HIV Detective" illustrated the scope and diversity of the projects. The Poster Session, now in its 11th year, drew a large crowd of faculty and students, and fulfills the STS (Science, Technology, and Society) core curriculum requirement at SCU.

    "Not only do we want students to understand these technologies," stated Professor Miller, "but to understand how technology affects the world, and ultimately, how to make the world a better place."

  •  The Cost of Dying

    Friday, May. 24, 2013 12:38 PM

    Through writing about her own experience with her father's death, Lisa Krieger, reporter for the San Jose Mercury News, began research for a set of articles about the cost of dying and moral choices at the end of life, published in 2012.  This month, Kreiger visited Santa Clara University in a talk sponsored by the Ethics Center and Commonwealth Club, Silicon Valley.  You can listen to the podcast of her presentation here.

  •  Moral Choices at the End of Life

    Friday, May. 10, 2013 10:38 AM

    San Jose Mercury News reporter Lisa Krieger reflects on the cost of dying and the ethical issues that raises in a presentation Tuesday, May 14, noon, in the Arts & Sciences Building on the Santa Clara University campus.  In a series of powerful articles in the last year, Krieger both documented the immense financial costs associated with her father's final illness and showed how such costs are impacting end-of-life care throughout our health care system as a whole.  


  •  Seasonal Flu: The Ethics of Staying at Home

    Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012 10:57 AM

    A university student must decide whether to ignore his flu symptoms in order to take part in a group presentation.  Is it worse to let down his presentation partners or to expose others to his germs?  

    This case study was written by Sarah Ludwig, and SCU student and Honzel Fellow at the Ethics Center.  Honzel Fellowships focus on medical ethics and are supported by the Honzel Family Foundation.

  •  Mandates and Morals: A Talk by Carol Keehan, DC

    Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012 5:06 PM

    President and Chief Executive Officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States Carol Keehan, S.J., will discuss ethical issues facing Catholic health care providers at a talk Oct. 17, 7 p.m., in the St. Clare Room of the Santa Clara University Learning Commons. 

  •  Seasonal and Pandemic Flu: An Ethical Toolkit

    Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 4:10 PM

    With flu season almost upon us, the Ethics Center offers a timely resource: Ethical Issues in Dealing with Influenza. The material, including cases, commentaries, and practical tools, addresses both pandemic and seasonal outbreaks.  Topics covered include vaccine rationing, quarantine, and triage.


    Photo by Jason Rogers [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons