• 1809 Ashland Avenue
  • Room 211
  • Baltimore, MD 21205


Debra Mathews

Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA, is the Assistant Director for Science Programs for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Mathews earned her BS in Biology from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in genetics from Case Western Reserve University. Concurrent with her PhD, she earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Case. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in genetics at Johns Hopkins, where she continued her work on human genetic variation and human population history. She also completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy, which was jointly administered by Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities. Dr. Mathews has also spent time at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, working in various capacities on science policy. As the Assistant Director for Science Programs, Dr. Mathews is responsible for overseeing the Stem Cell Policy and Ethics program and the Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences, as well as other bench research-related endeavors in the Berman Institute. She is also a member of the steering committee of The Hinxton Group, an international collective of scientists, ethicists, policymakers and others, interested in ethical and well-regulated science, and whose work focuses primarily on stem cell research. Dr. Mathews’s academic work focuses on ethics and policy issues raised by emerging biotechnologies, with particular focus on genetics, stem cell science, neuroscience and synthetic biology. In CRISPR: A path through the thicket, a paper in Nature, Dr. Mathews and colleagues discuss the ethical questions of genome editing and present recommended actions for continued research.


BS, Pennsylvania State University
PhD, Case Western Reserve University
MA, Case Western Reserve University

Recent Publications:

1:Mathews DJ, Chan S, Donovan PJ, Douglas T, Gyngell C, Harris J, Regenberg A, Lovell-Badge R. (2015) CRISPR: A path through the thicket. Nature. 527(7577),159-61.

2:Sliva A, Yang H, Boeke JD, Mathews DJ. (2015) Freedom and Responsibility in Synthetic Genomics: The Synthetic Yeast Project. Genetics. 200(4),1021-8.

3: Bell E, Racine É, Chiasson P, Dufourcq-Brana M, Dunn LB, Fins JJ, Ford PJ, Glannon W, Lipsman N, Macdonald ME, McAndrews MP, Mathews DJH. (2014)  Beyond Consent In Research: Revisiting Vulnerability In Deep Brain Stimulation For Psychiatric Disorders. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 14 Jul 2014. 23(3), 361-8.

4: Mathews DJH and Jamal L. Revisiting Respect for Persons in Genomic Research. Genes. 2014. 5(1), 1-12.

5:Dasgupta I, Bollinger J, Mathews DJH, Neumann NM, Rattani A, Sugarman J. (2014)  Patients’ Attitudes toward the Donation of Biological Materials for the Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells. Cell Stem Cell. 14(1), 9-12.

6: Regenberg, A., & Mathews, D. J. (2011). Promoting justice in stem cell intellectual property. Regenerative medicine6(6s), 79-84.

7: Mathews, D. J. (2011). Deep brain stimulation, personal identity and policy. International Review of Psychiatry23(5), 486-492.

8: Mathews, D. J., Graff, G. D., Saha, K., & Winickoff, D. E. (2011). Access to stem cells and data: persons, property rights, and scientific progress. Science(Washington)331(6018), 725-727.

9: Sugarman, J., & Mathews, D. J. (2009). Of mice and men: skin cells, stem cells and ethical uncertainties. Regenerative medicine4(6), 791-791.

10: Rabins, P., Appleby, B. S., Brandt, J., DeLong, M. R., Dunn, L. B., Gabriëls, L., … & Mathews, D. J. (2009). Scientific and ethical issues related to deep brain stimulation for disorders of mood, behavior, and thought. Archives of General Psychiatry66(9), 931-937.

11: Mathews, D. J., Donovan, P. J., Harris, J., Lovell-Badge, R., Savulescu, J., & Faden, R. (2009). Pluripotent stem cell-derived gametes: truth and (potential) consequences. Cell Stem Cell5(1), 11-14.