Guiding Ethical Principles in Engineering Biology Research

Rebecca Mackelprang, Emily R. Aurand, Roel A.L. Bovenberg, Kathryn R. Brink, R. Alta Charo, Jason A. Delborne, James Diggans, Andrew D. Ellington, Jeffrey L."clem" Fortman, Farren J. Isaacs, June I. Medford, Richard M. Murray, Vincent Noireaux, Megan J. Palmer, Laurie Zoloth, Douglas C. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Engineering biology is being applied toward solving or mitigating some of the greatest challenges facing society. As with many other rapidly advancing technologies, the development of these powerful tools must be considered in the context of ethical uses for personal, societal, and/or environmental advancement. Researchers have a responsibility to consider the diverse outcomes that may result from the knowledge and innovation they contribute to the field. Together, we developed a Statement of Ethics in Engineering Biology Research to guide researchers as they incorporate the consideration of long-term ethical implications of their work into every phase of the research lifecycle. Herein, we present and contextualize this Statement of Ethics and its six guiding principles. Our goal is to facilitate ongoing reflection and collaboration among technical researchers, social scientists, policy makers, and other stakeholders to support best outcomes in engineering biology innovation and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-910
Number of pages4
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 21 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
R.M., J.L.F., E.R.A., and D.C.F. were supported by the Department of Homeland Security under Award No. 19STFRG00011-01-00. E.R.A. and D.C.F. were supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Award No. 1818248. K.R.B. was supported by the Office of Naval Research N00014-18-1-2611, NSF MCB-1553317, Rice University Nettie S. Autrey Fellowship (2020–2021). A.D.E. was supported by The Welch Foundation F-1654. F.J.I. was supported by NSF awards MCB-1714860, EF-1935120, and IOS-1923321. V.N. was supported by NSF awards MCB-1613677 and MCB-2017932. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

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