Who We Are

Established in 1989, the Stanford Center for Biomedical (SCBE) is an interdisciplinary hub for faculty who do research, teaching, and service on topics in bioethics and medical humanities. SCBE and its faculty have been widely recognized for leadership on a range of issues.

SCBE was among the first in the field to be designated by NIH as a Center for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI) in Genetics and Genomics. It was the first to receive a T32 training grant in the field. And SCBE is now the Coordinating Center for ELSI research at the National Human Genome Research Institute.

SCBE researchers have pioneered new approaches to studying the ethical issues presented by new technologies in biomedicine, including Artificial Intelligence, CRISPR and Gene Therapy, Stem Cell Research, Synthetic Biology, and the Human Brain Initiative.

To benefit patients, SCBE has undertaken novel, ground-breaking research to improve clinical care, including end of life care, communication between patients and physicians, care for disabled patients, and organ transplantation processes.

SCBE is a recognized leader in medical humanities and arts, including an award-winning bioethics-in-film program, a nationally known writer-in-residence, and development of physician writers.

SCBE faculty teach throughout Stanford, from large undergraduate courses to ethics courses taken by all medical students. SCBE offers training for medical students who choose to specialize in biomedical ethics and medical humanities, as well a highly-rated research ethics seminar taken by over 350 graduate students and fellows a year. Faculty provide a wide array of educational and training opportunities for residents, fellows, nurses and other medical staff. Additionally, faculty conduct guest lectures in other departments and divisions across the School of Medicine. The Center also provides educational opportunities for the general public.


  • To conduct innovative empirical bioethics research (in the core areas of genomics, end-of-life care, cultural diversity, neuroscience, the changing health care marketplace, and technology development)
  • To provide leadership in bioethics education for students and faculty in medicine, the Humanities and Sciences, and the professional schools, at Stanford and nationally
  • To apply ethical reasoning to moral issues in medicine, including basic science, translational biomedical research, patient care, and the development of medical technology
  • To contribute to national and international policy discussions by building a community of professionals dedicated to formulating effective responses to contemporary ethical issues
  • To advance and preserve a compassionate and humanistic perspective on the practice of medicine, in order to improve health care for adults and children