As part of the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Profession’s mission to support research in the fields of practical and professional ethics, we sponsor a number of talks and events throughout the year in collaboration with other departments. Please be sure to check out our blog for more upcoming events and discussions of ethics-related news stories and resources. You are also welcome to check out our archive of past projects and events.

Webinar: Ethical and Logistical Considerations in Implementing Decentralized Genomic Research Trials

Michele McGowan

Illinois Tech’s Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions presents a webinar featuring guest speaker Michele L. McGowan, professor of biomedical ethics and co-director of the Biomedical Ethics Research Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. This webinar took place on Thursday, March 21 at 12:45 p.m.

There is considerable enthusiasm for moving clinical research outside of traditional research environments and promoting research participation among populations that have been historically less likely to contribute to population genetic research. While the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated opportunities for decentralizing clinical research, several ethical and logistical considerations remain. Drawing on her own experience of leading an adolescent genomic decision-making clinical trial with a virtual arm, Michele L. McGowan will illustrate opportunities and challenges to fully decentralizing genomic research and the continued relevance of calls for population-representative and equitable participation in genomic research.

Michelle L. McGowan is a professor of biomedical ethics and co-director of the Biomedical Ethics Research Program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She completed a B.A. in Sociology at Boston College, a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies at University of Washington, and a postdoctoral fellowship in bioethics at Case Western Reserve University. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic in 2022, McGowan held faculty positions at Case Western Reserve University, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Cincinnati. McGowan is an empirical bioethicist whose research explores ethical and social implications of emerging health technologies and policies. Combining a range of qualitative and normative methods, her empirically informed approach to bioethics scholarship focuses on addressing the uneven distribution of benefits and burdens of associated with the uptake of technologies in healthcare and biomedical research. She is currently a principal investigator of a multiple-PI National Human Genome Research Institute-funded hybrid clinical trial focused on adolescent decision-making in relation to prospective genomic screening.

Watch the Recording

International Conference on Computer Ethics; Philosophical Inquiry 2023 (CEPE 2023)


In May 2023, the Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions and the Center for Cyber Security and Forensics Education hosted the International Conference on Computer Ethics; Philosophical Inquiry 2023 (CEPE 2023). Over 150 scholars worldwide joined us for both an in-person and virtual conference. Presentations explored issues such as issues of trust and bias in artificial intelligence, innovative new ways of integrating ethics into computer ethics curricula, and issues around human-Ai interactions in the fields of medicine, the workplace, and daily life.

The Ethics Center was extremely pleased to award the first Vivian Weil Award for best paper to Tobias Flattery and Christian Miller of Wake Forest University for their conference paper " Deepfakes and Dishonesty."

Recordings of the virtual presentations are also available.

CEPE is a leading international conference that has played a significant role in defining the field and is held biennially. It was organized by INSEIT in collaboration with the Ionian University Research Team, IHRC (Information: History, Regulation, and Culture).

Machine Learning (ML) Fariness: A Webinar

On March 24 the Ethics Center sponsored a webinar featuring a conversation featuring guest speakers Lindsay Weinberg and Leilani Gilpin who shared their thoughts and approaches regarding the trends of machine learning fairness. Topics of discussion included how are dominant trends in artificial intelligence fairness research entrenching, rather than remedying, issues of bias and discrimination, and how explanations can be used for ensuring fairness and accountability. See a recording of the event.

Changing Perspectives on Human and Animal Experimentation

Dr. Anita Guerrinni joined us on October 12, 2022, for her talk titled "Changing Perspectives on Human and Animal Experimentation," during which she explored the history of the use of humans and animals in research ranging from William Harvey's research on the circulation of the blood in 1628 to the development of smallpox vaccine in 1798, to the development and production of polio vaccines in the 1950s. Dr. Guerrini focuses on both the benefits of these advances as well as many of the ethical questions raised in the use of animals and children in the development of these medical advances. See a recording of the event.

Climate Change and Ethics: Reflecting on Risk and its Implications

The webinar investigated the roles of climate change-related risks in the context of decision-making, policy, and law. It reflected on the role of the prudence principle for spending on climate security measures and discussed the life-threatening implications of pollution and climate change that result from human activity. See a recording of the event.

Climate Change & Ethics: The Role of Governments and Societal Actors in Mitigating Climate Change 

The webinar will explore the roles and responsibilities of governments and societal actors in the context of climate change. It will analyze what hinders stakeholders from more effectively promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation and reflect on what can be done to improve the situation. Topics include the role of science and amateurs in climate change conversations, the influence of businesses on policymaking around climate change, the importance of concern for the environment, solidarity, ecological reforms, and public education for climate justice. See a recording of the event.

Climate Change & Ethics: Where are We?

A Virtual Symposium

In light of the slow progress being made to mitigate climate change, there is a need to reflect on the ethical considerations at play. How can ethics help structure the discussion and facilitate climate justice? This symposium seeks to engage stakeholders in discussing the ethical assumptions implicit in our discussions and actions around climate change. See a recording of the event.