Service and Outreach

The Bioethics program includes several types of activities that engage scientists, scholars from departments across the university, college students, elementary and high school students and members of the public.

For Researches

Ethics Journal Club

This club brings together ethicists and scientists to discuss topics of immediate interest. Generally, the topics grow out of research at Discovery. Forthcoming topics will include: visualizing data – the line between acceptable and unacceptable manipulation; returning genomic research results to individual research participants; and data falsification –why does it happen and how can we create a culture that prevents falsification?

If you are a UW–Madison researcher and want the bioethics journal club to cover a certain topic, please contact Pilar Ossorio or Yao Zhou.

Benchside Ethics Consult Service for the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery and UW–Madison

Over the past couple of decades research has become much more collaborative and complex, and the regulatory issues have also become more complex. An ethics consultation can help researchers and research oversight personnel deliberate about ethical questions and concerns. Research ethics consultation is analogous to the ethical consultation that has gone on in hospitals for several decades, but we focus on problems arising out of laboratory science, engineering, and computational science rather than problems arising in the practice of medicine. This consultation service is a collaborative project and includes personnel from a variety of campus units.

The goals of the research ethics consultation service are to:

  • Sustain a research enterprise of the highest integrity, trustworthiness and safety at Discovery and UW–Madison by helping generate and maintain an environment in which concern for the ethical dimensions, professional responsibilities and social impacts of research are an integral part of the institutional culture;
  • Provide a professionally diverse consultation team to deliberate with and advise researchers regarding difficult ethical issues that have arisen or may arise at any stage of a research project; and
  • Provide a professionally diverse consultation team to deliberate with and advise research oversight personnel on the development of research policy.

To request a consultation:

Contact Pilar Ossorio at 608-316-4650.

For K-12 Students

Discovery Field Trips – Sign up for an Ethics Activity

Ethics@Discovery offers educational activities for middle and high school students as part of the Discovery field trips programming in theTown Center. Our sessions introduce students to ethical aspects of science and technology. If you are a teacher, educator or community group and are interested in having an ethics session aspart of your field trip to Discovery, please visit the field trips pagefor more information and to reserve your date.

Martin Luther King Jr. Youth Service Day

MLK Youth Service Day at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery commemorates the MLK holiday with a day of science and service for area middle and high school students. At MLK Day 2013, Ethics@Discovery ran a Bioethics Creative Poetry Slam around the story of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks’ cells were collected without her knowledge or consent in the 1950s for use in medical research. Since then, her cells have been studied extensively by biomedical researchers around the world, leading to a groundbreaking polio vaccine and numerous advances in cancer research. During the 2013 MLK Youth Service Day event, students explored ethical questions around the use of human tissues and cells in medical research.

For Campus and Community

Panel Discussions, Seminars and Annual Ethics Symposium

Ethics@Discovery hosts several events that invite the campus and community to explore a variety of ethical issues in science, medicine and technology. Discussions are led by UW–Madison faculty and leading bioethics scholars and experts from around the country.