Rebecca Susan Dresser


Rebecca Susan Dresser

Professor of Law


B.A., 1973, Indiana University-Bloomington
M.S., 1975, Indiana University-Bloomington
J.D.,1979, Harvard University

Curriculum Vitae




Bev Owens - (314) 935-6482

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-8769


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 562

Courses Taught

Biomedical Research Law and Policy Seminar
Bioethics and Law
Genetics Law and Policy Seminar 
Regulating Drugs and Other Medical Products


Professor Rebecca Dresser is an expert in biomedical ethics. She has taught law and medical students about legal and ethical issues in end-of-life care, biomedical research, genetics, assisted reproduction, and related topics. She has written extensively in her field and is the co-author of a casebook on bioethics and law and a book on the ethical treatment of animals. She is the sole author of Silent Partners: Human Subjects and Research Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016) and When Science Offers Salvation: Patient Advocacy and Research Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2001). She also edited and contributed to Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer (Oxford University Press, 2012). In addition to her teaching, research, and scholarship, she is on the advisory or editorial boards of several prestigious journals devoted to bioethics. She is a past member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Board. Professor Dresser is a prolific speaker and panelist at national and international symposia, conferences, and workshops on such topics as bioethics and cancer; advance treatment directives; stem cell research; biomedical research policy; and human cloning. Before becoming a law professor, she clerked for the Hon. James E. Doyle, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, and held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Representative Publications

Selected Recent Articles

  • "Autonomy and Its Limits in End-of-Life Law," in Oxford Handbook of U.S. Healthcare Law, I. G. Cohen, A. Hoffman & W. Sage eds., Oxford University Press, 2016
  • "A Fate Worse Than Death? How Biomarkers for Alzheimer’s Disease Could Affect End-of-Life Choices," 12 Indiana Health Law Review 651-69, 2015
  • "What Subjects Teach: The Everyday Ethics of Human Research," 50 Wake Forest Law Review 301 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "The 'Right to Try' Investigational Drugs: Science and Stories in the Access Debate," 50 University of Texas Law Review 1631 (2015) [SSRN]
  • "Public Preferences and the Challenge to Genetic Research Policy," Journal of Law and the Biosciences 52 (2014) Article