Biosafety and Bioethics


- To contextualize the ethical dimension of the  life sciences and their applications;

- To promote an informed debate on the increasing importance of the life sciences and biotechnology  in society;

- To debate to what extent science is neutral and the issue of the social responsibility of scientists;

- To develop  the ability  of students to contextualize and to debate scientific and ethical problems.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Isabel Maria da Silva Pereira Amaral


Weekly - 4

Total - 58

Teaching language






M. Sateesh (2021), Bioethics and Biosafety, Dreamtech Press

Gregory E. Pence (2021), Pandemic Bioethics, Broadview Press.

John D. Arras & Elizabeth Fenton (2018), The Routledge Companion to bioethics (Routledge Philosophy Companions).

Padma Mambisan (2017), An Introduction to Ethical, Safety and Intellectual Property Rights Issues in Biotechnology, Academic Press.

Palmira Fontes da Costa (ed.), Ciência, Ética e Cidadania: Reflexões de Cientistas Nobel, Lisboa, Ed. Autor, 2015.

Pedro Galvão (2015), Ética com razões, Fundação Francisco Manuel dos Santos.

Reynolds Salerno; Jennifer Gaudioso (2015), Laboratory Biorisk Management: Biosafety and Biosecurity, CRC Press Inc.

Jeffrey R. Ryan, Jan F. Glarum, Biosecurity and Bioterrorism, Containing and Preventing Biological Treats, Elsevier, 2008.

V. Sreekrishna (2007), Bioethics and Biosafety in Biotechnology, To New Age International Pvt Ltd Publishers.

Teaching method

The classes involve a combination of theory and practice. The lecturer will provide introductions to the main themes of the course and sessions of discussion and debate from several bibliographic sources by the students. All the materials (articles, books, PowerPoint slides) will be available online to the students in the course page in Moodle.

Evaluation method

1. Elaboration of a written commentary about one of the curricular program''''s bioethics themes (40%)

2. Oral presentation of a scientific article, in group (4 students), about a specific program theme (30%);

3. Final work about a theme (in group) chosen between the topics addressed (30%).

Subject matter

1.Introduction to Bioethics: nature and history

The life: forms, origins and sense

2. The major paradigms of western bioethics (teleological, deontological and utilitarian model) 

3. Research codes and standards of conduct in the international context - the use of target populations in biological, clinical, and therapeutic research

4. Biosafety and bioethics: the dialectical relation

5. Biosafety and BioRISC - some examples (OGMs, Bioterrorism; Biohacking, Bioterrorism, etc.

6. Ethical issues raised by Biotechnology, biomedicine and Environment:  Sexuality and human procreation; Manipulation and genetic selection (prenatal diagnosis, enhancement technologies, genetic therapy, new gene-editing techniques); Research in human embryos (Fertilization in vitro, cloning, and research in steam cells); Human transplantation; Human enhancement, etc.


Programs where the course is taught: