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Using a Popular Science Nonfiction Book to Introduce Biomedical Research Ethics in a Biology Majors Course

    Author: Kristen L. W. Walton1
    VIEW AFFILIATIONS HIDE AFFILIATIONS
    Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph, MO 64507
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 15 December 2014
    • Supplemental materials available at http://jmbe.asm.org
    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: Department of Biology, Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, MO 64507. Phone: 816-271-5613. E-mail: kwalton1@missouriwestern.edu.
    • ©2014 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. December 2014 vol. 15 no. 2 240-242. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.767
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    Abstract:

    Although bioethics is an important topic in modern society, it is not a required part of the curriculum for many biology degree programs in the United States. Students in our program are exposed to biologically relevant ethical issues informally in many classes, but we do not have a requirement for a separate bioethics course. is a recent nonfiction book that describes the life of the woman whose cervical cancer biopsy gave rise to the HeLa cell line, as well as discussing relevant medical, societal, and ethical issues surrounding human tissue use for research. Weekly reading assignments from the book with discussion questions and a final paper were used to engage students in learning about the ethics of human subjects and human tissues research. Students were surveyed for qualitative feedback on the usefulness of including this book as part of the course. This book has been a successful platform for increasing student knowledge and interest in ethics related to biomedical and biological research.

Key Concept Ranking

Cervical Cancer
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Lead
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DNA
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Syphilis
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References & Citations

1. Loike JD, Rush BS, Schweber A, Fischbach RL2013Lessons learned from undergraduate students in designing a science-based course in bioethicsCBE Life Sci Educ12701710242972963846520
2. McGowan AH2013Teaching science and ethics to undergraduates: a multidisciplinary approachSci Eng Ethics1953554310.1007/s11948-011-9338-3 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11948-011-9338-3
3. National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research1979The Belmont Report: ethical principles and guidelines for the protection of human subjects of researchUS Department of Health, Education, and WelfareWashington, DC[Online.] http://www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.html
4. Skloot R2010The immortal life of Henrietta LacksCrown PublishersNew York, NY
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v15i2.767
2014-12-15
2017-11-23

Abstract:

Although bioethics is an important topic in modern society, it is not a required part of the curriculum for many biology degree programs in the United States. Students in our program are exposed to biologically relevant ethical issues informally in many classes, but we do not have a requirement for a separate bioethics course. is a recent nonfiction book that describes the life of the woman whose cervical cancer biopsy gave rise to the HeLa cell line, as well as discussing relevant medical, societal, and ethical issues surrounding human tissue use for research. Weekly reading assignments from the book with discussion questions and a final paper were used to engage students in learning about the ethics of human subjects and human tissues research. Students were surveyed for qualitative feedback on the usefulness of including this book as part of the course. This book has been a successful platform for increasing student knowledge and interest in ethics related to biomedical and biological research.

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