Josephine Johnston Director of Research, Research Scholar at The Hastings Center

Talk Title: The Good Parent in an Age of Gene Editing: How Novel Genetic Technologies Challenge Parental Responsibility
Thursday, September 26, 5:00 p.m.

Stackhouse Theater

Josephine Johnston is a bioethicist and lawyer at the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York. Her expertise involves the ethical, legal, and policy implications of biomedical technologies, particularly as used in human reproduction, psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience. She has published in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, and Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. Her other commentaries have appeared in Stat News, The New Republic, Time, Washington Post, and The Scientist. She is co-editor (with Thomas Murray) of Trust and Integrity in Biomedical Research: The Case of Financial Conflicts of Interest, published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press and (with Erik Parens) of Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing, published in 2019 by Oxford University Press.

Ms. Johnston's current projects address the ethical implications of new kinds of prenatal genetic tests, the relationship between gene editing technologies and understandings of human flourishing, and the potential use of genetic sequencing technology in newborns. She is a member of Columbia University Medical Center's Center for Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications, examining psychiatric, neurologic and behavioral genetics. She writes that current discussion of gene-editing should strive for "a kind of moral reasoning that can help us discriminate between uses of gene-editing technologies that will and will not make our lives better - that will and will not help us to flourish - over and above making us healthier or more productive."

A New Zealand-trained lawyer with a master's degree in bioethics and health law from the University of Otago, Ms. Johnston joined the staff of The Hastings Center as a research scholar in 2003 and became director of research in 2012. She previously worked as a bioethics researcher at Dalhousie University and the University of Minnesota, and she practiced law in New Zealand and Germany.