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5 May -"Bioethics as a profession in the time of covid-19" Lecture by Silvia Camporesi, Associate Professor, King's College London, UK

The conference of Silvia Camporesi is organised in collaboration with the Director of the Institute of Advanced Studies, Prof. Dario Braga.

May 05, 2020 from 05:00 PM to 07:00 PM

Where Online on Microsoft Teams (link in the description)

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Bioethics as a discipline was born in the United States in the 1970s in a time of great biomedical and technological advancement. It was also a time in which humanity by and large thought that infectious diseases had been conquered for good. Alas! This is not the case now, as we can see in a variety of contexts: from antimicrobial resistance, to resistance to vaccinations and re-emergence of diseases such as polio or measles, to pandemics caused by spill-overs from non-human animals, of which covid-19 is only the latest although most formidable instance.

Our lives have been tremendously transformed over the past few weeks by unprecedented restrictive public health measures (aka lockdown), the implications of which will likely go far beyond the current outbreak. Public health ethics requires a careful balance of different values: the public good, individual liberties, and justice, which are not always captured in the current policies.

The current pandemic presents challenges as well as opportunities for the professional bioethicist: challenges because in an emergency setting requiring very rapid responses, the experts who have been called upon to help develop and later justify policies have not been bioethicists (and one has to wonder why, and what bioethicists could do, to have a say in the policies); opportunities because bioethicists are trained to engage with a variety of ethical questions emerging from the outbreak, from the ethics of triaging, to intergenerational justice, to the ethics of public health interventions. In this talk I will discuss these and other challenges and opportunities facing professional bioethicists in the time of covid-19, with a look at what the future might hold for us.

Link to Teams: Click here to access


Silvia Camporesi is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Bioethics & Society and Director of the MSc in Bioethics & Society programme in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King's College London. Silvia has an interdisciplinary background in medical biotechnology (University of Bologna) and philosophy of medicine (King’s College London) and is an expert on the ethics of emerging biotechnologies and the ethics of sport.

Silvia is an interdisciplinary scholar at heart, with a longstanding interest in emerging biotechnologies and health. Her interdisciplinary training goes back to her years as an alumna of Collegio Superiore (2001-2006).

After completing her MSc in Biotechnology with a lab-based dissertation on gene therapy at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Triest, Silvia moved to the IFOM-IEO Institute in Milan in 2007 to pursue a PhD in Foundations of Life Sciences and Ethics (2010). The PhD, awarded by the State University of Milan in collaboration with the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM), was a unique programme offering practical and theoretical training in molecular biology, ethics and philosophy of the life sciences.

Upon completion of the PhD in Milan Silvia moved to London where she completed a second PhD in Philosophy of Medicine (2013) at King’s College London, sponsored by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship. In 2011/12 she further expanded her horizons with a visiting research fellowship as a Medical Humanities Scholar at the Department of Anthropology, History and Social Medicine at University of California, San Francisco. Silvia has published two books – From Bench to bedside to track & Field: the context of enhancement and its ethical relevance (2014, University of California Medical Humanities Press) and Bioethics, Genetics and Sport (with Mike McNamee, Routledge, 2018) – and has published more than 35 peer review articles in a variety of medical ethics, bioethics and scientific journals.

You can read more about her research here: