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  • Room 208
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Debra Mathews

Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA, is the Assistant Director for Science Programs for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. 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 is jointly administered by Johns Hopkins and Georgetown universities. As a Greenwall Fellow, Dr. Mathews worked at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, where, among other work, she investigated the views of geneticists on their role(s) in science policy formation and public engagement. In addition, during a three-month internship at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Science and Data Policy, she worked with the Privacy Advocate on issues related to large data systems. 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, a consortium of scientists, ethicists, policy experts and other scholars committed to exploring ethics and policy challenges raised by stem cell science in an international context.

In 2011, Dr. Mathews served as a Senior Policy and Research Analyst on the staff of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. Her research interests focus on the intersection of science, public policy and society. Dr Mathews’ most recent publication, ‘Access to Stem Cells and Data: Persons, Property Rights and Scientific Progress’, published in Science can be accessed here (free abstract) and here (open access full text).


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

Recent Publications:

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

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

3: 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.

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

5: 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.

6: 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.