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Rebecca Dresser

Daniel Noyes Kirby Professor of Law Emerita

Since 1983, Rebecca Dresser has taught medical and law students about legal and ethical issues in end-of-life care, biomedical research, genetics, assisted reproduction, and related topics. Her 2017 book, Silent Partners: Human Subjects and Research Ethics, calls for including experienced study subjects in research deliberations and policy making. She is also the author of When Science Offers Salvation: Patient Advocacy and Research Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2001) and editor of Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer (Oxford University Press, 2012). From 2002-2009, she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics.

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  • Education
    • J.D., Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1979
    • M.S., Education, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1975
    • B.A., Psychology and Sociology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, 1973
  • Courses
    • Bioethics and Law
    • Regulating Drugs and Other Medical Technologies
    • Human Genome Project and the Law
    • Criminal Law
    • Seminars: Biomedical Research Law and Policy; Genetics Ethics, Law, and Policy
  • Areas of Expertise
    • Bioethics and Law
    • Regulation of Drugs
  • Publications

    SSRN Authors Page

    • Silent Partners: Human Subjects and Research Ethics, New York: Oxford University Press, 2017, paperback forthcoming 2018
    • Malignant: Medical Ethicists Confront Cancer, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012 (editor and contributor)
    • The Human Use of Animals: Case Studies in Ethical Choice, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998, 2d ed. 2008. Co-authored with Orlans, Beauchamp, Morton, & Gluck
    • “Informed Consent in Right to Try: A Dubious Assumption,” Wake Forest University Journal of Law & Policy, 11: 1-6, 2020.
    • “Beyond Cruzan:  Dementia and the Best Interests Standard,” Symposium Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, Southern Methodist University Law Review, 73: 71-90, 2020.
    • “Dementia, Disability, and Advance Directives: Defensible Legal Standards for Decisions about Future Dementia Care,” in Disability, Health, Law, and Bioethics 77-88, I. Glenn Cohen, Carmel Shachar, Anita Silvers and Michael Ashley Stein eds., Cambridge University Press, 2020.
    • “Putting the Ethical Principles into Practice,” in Principles of Animal Research Ethics 69-77, Tom Beauchamp and David DeGrazia eds., Oxford University Press, 2020.
    • “Precommitment Devices: A Defensible Treatment for Opioid Addiction?” American Journal of Law & Medicine, 46: 189-202, 2020.
    • “Dementia and the Death Penalty,” Hastings Center Report, 49: 6-7, November-December 2019.
  • Activity and Affiliations
    • Visiting Scholar, Bioethics Program, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Fall 2017
    • Guest Faculty, National Institutes of Health Fogarty International Center Training Program in Research Ethics in the Americas, Buenos Aires, Argentina, May 8-12, 2017
    • Gene and Cell Therapy Data Safety and Monitoring Board, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2017-present
    • Contributing Editor and Editorial Board Member, Hastings Center Report, 2016-present
    • Hastings Center Board of Directors and Fellows Council Chair, 2014-2016, Vice-Chair 2012-2014
    • National Institutes of Health Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee, 2011-2015
    • President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002-2009
    • National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Advisory Council, National Institutes of Health, 1997-2001
  • Honors and Awards
    • 2014 Washington University Distinguished Faculty Award
    • 2014 Women’s Justice Award, St. Louis Lawyers Weekly
    • Hastings Center Fellow
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