For a PhD-project on the ethics of ‘synthetic embryos’, a vacancy will become available for a PhD student at the Department of Health, Ethics & Society of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. This concerns a full-time 4 year dissertation opportunity for a philosopher/bioethicist. A project description can be acquired from dr Wybo Dondorp, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recent reports have shown that, under the right conditions, human pluripotent stem cells can form structures that resemble early human embryos. These “synthetic human entities with embryo-like features (SHEEFs)” seem highly useful for studying early human development, but also raise ethical concerns that are relevant for how this emerging field of research should be regulated.
Aims and methods:
This project aims to contribute to a robust and sustainable normative framework for creating and using SHEEFs. In addition to contributing to the international debate, an explicit goal of the project is to advice policy makers in the Netherlands on whether the Dutch Embryos Act is sufficiently ‘SHEEFS-proof’. Methods: conceptual analysis, normative analysis, qualitative stakeholder research (focus group discussions).
Funding and collaboration:
This project is funded by The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), GROW (School for Oncology & Developmental Biology, Maastricht University) and MERLN (Institute for Technology-Inspired Regenerative Medicine, Maastricht University). Collaborating centers are the Department of Health, Ethics & Society (HES), GROW and MERLN (all Maastricht University), the University Medical Center Utrecht (Department of Medical Humanities) and the Hubrecht Institute for Developmental Biology and Stem Cell Research (both Utrecht University).
The terms of employment of Maastricht University are set out in the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO). Furthermore, local UM provisions also apply. For more information look at the website www.maastrichtuniversity.nl.
The first interview round will be held on Monday 16 April 2018 in Maastricht.
GROW focuses on research and teaching of (epi)genetic, cellular and (micro)environmental factors and mechanisms underlying normal (embryonic and fetal) and abnormal (cancer) development, with emphasis on translational research aiming at innovative approaches for individualizing prevention, patient diagnostics and treatment.