Research Ethics

Under what conditions is it permissible to conduct medical research with human subjects?  There is a broad consensus that this at least requires the informed consent of the individual subjects.  But what is required to secure an individual’s consent?  What else is required besides consent?  For example, are certain trial designs ruled out in principle (say, placebo controls where there is a proven effective intervention available for the condition under investigation)? And what are the broad ethical concerns in the responsible conduct of research?

Trent Center faculty play a lead role in providing coursework in research ethics education at Duke and write on a range of ethical issues in research. Select articles by Trent Center faculty working in the area of research ethics include:

Jennifer Hawkins

            Exploitation and Developing Countries:  The Ethics of Clinical Research (Princeton, 2008). Co-edited with E. Emanuel.

Kevin Weinfurt

            "Informed consent for biobanking: consensus-based guidelines for adequate comprehension." Genetics in medicine (2015) 17(3): 226-233.  With L. Beskow et alia.

Gopal Sreenivasan

            “Does informed consent to research require comprehension?” Lancet (2003) 362: 2018-18.

See more information about Trent Center faculty whose research focuses on bioethics.