Addressing emerging ethical issues and building a culture of responsible science.


Bioethics operates at the intersection of life sciences, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law and philosophy.

Crossing boundaries tests the status quo and when such crossings result in groundbreaking science, challenging ethical questions often arise, even in the minds of those making the discoveries.

The Morgridge Institute for Research Bioethics Program helps promotes a culture of responsible science and provides an integrated on-site resource for researchers to help them explore emerging ethical issues related to their work.

The Morgridge Institute recognized early in its development that ready access to bioethics counsel could have an enormous impact on how research proceeds at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, how such research is perceived by local and national policy makers and whether the research ultimately results in social benefit. Pilar Ossorio, professor of law and bioethics at UW–Madison, was selected as the inaugural Bioethics Scholar-in-Residence. Ethics@Discovery aims to:

  • Provide a resource for scientists at Discovery and across UW–Madison to help them address ethical issues
  • Conduct groundbreaking bioethics research, and provide bioethics research expertise for large, interdisciplinary projects and research centers at UW–Madison
  • Promote a cross-campus interdisciplinary research community
  • Promote a culture of responsible science at Discovery and UW–Madison
  • Engage the public, policy makers, educators, students and journalists in understanding the real world implications of the research conducted at the institutes and the campus

The Bioethics Program draws from the abundant resources available at UW–Madison, including faculty with strengths in philosophy and bioethics, science governance, law, social studies of science, science communication and business ethics. The program collaborates with interested faculty and students from numerous departments and programs, including the department of medical history and bioethics, the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and the UW Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Researchers may contact the Bioethics Program at any time to discuss ethical issues or schedule a time to meet. To request a consultation, please contact Pilar Ossorio (608.316.4650 or or Norman Fost (608.263.8562 or

Pilar Ossorio

Morgridge Institute for Research Bioethics