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The science, ethics & governance of genome editing

Explore the ethical implications of Human Genome Editing, including the scientific and medical possibilities (realities versus fictions), various ethical approaches and options for its effective governance and regulation.

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CIVIS focus area
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • Phd
Field of studies
  • Medicine and Health
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Short-term
  • CIVIS Hub 3
Course dates
25 - 29 July 2022

The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the pace of scientific development of genome editing technologies, particularly highlighted by the advances enabled by CRISPR-Cas9. One area of immense potential is the use of genome editing technologies in humans. Alongside the potential benefits, there are a number of ethical issues that arise, posing challenges for the development of robust governance of this technology. This Summer School will extensively explore the ethical implications of this emerging technology, noting the scientific and medical possibilities and realities, the perceptions and the various ethical approaches and implications as well as the options for its effective governance and regulation. This Summer School will combine lectures by experts in the field, alongside interactive group work and class discussion, a one-day class symposium, as well as evening events and class excursions.  

This CIVIS course is organised by: Dr. Oliver Feeney & Dr. Gardar Árnason, Research Unit ‘Ethics of Genome Editing’, Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine, the University of Tübingen & the CIVIS Health Hub.

Main topics addressed

  • Introduction: A brief history of human genome editing
  • The Science of human genome editing
  • Introduction to the ethics of genome editing — from the scientist perspective
  • Genetics and genome editing in literature and pop culture
  • Genome editing and population-level bioethics
  • Translational ethics: from bench to the bedside
  • New genomics or old eugenics
  • Narrative ethics, medical humanities and patients’ perspectives
  • Feminist perspectives on genome editing
  • Genome editing and disability
  • Law and governance of human genome editing

Learning outcomes

  • An intensive introduction to the ethical landscape related to human genome editing.
  • An extensive understanding of the key ethical concepts and theories in the context of human genome editing.
  • An important appreciation of the range of ethical, legal, scientific, and social considerations that interact in human genome editing.
  • An understanding of the main issues facing questions of governance and regulation, nationally and internationally.
  • An enrichment in critical thinking and in bioethical reflection, in addition to presentation and academic writing/ethical argumentation skills.
  • An opportunity to become co-authors in a bioethical paper that will be submitted to a reputable journal after the event.
Dates: 25 - 29 July 2022 CIVIS scholarships: 15
Format: Physical Location: Tübingen, Germany
ECTS: 2* Contact hours: 40
Language: English (B2) Individual workload: 50-60 hours

*The recognition of ECTS depends on your home university. Reach out to the CIVIS contact point within your university for further information.

For your information, the course will be running for 5 days. It is organised in 20 sessions of 90 minutes (40 class hours).


This CIVIS course is open to Bachelor's, Master and PhD students at one of the CIVIS member universities. 

The requirements for participating students are as follows: 

  • Some academic knowledge and experience of human genome editing (eg science, philosophy, ethics, medicine, etc)
  • Good academic past performance
  • Ability to articulate your thoughts and reasoning in a clear manner
  • An ability to listen to all sides of an argument

Application process

Interested students should send a one-page motivation letter and a short one-page academic CV (incl. academic background, previous courses taken, if relevant, other relevant background information) to The application deadline is 11 March 2022.

Selected students will be notified on 16 March 2022.


The course will be assessed using online evaluation forms at the end of the program, including both standardized (multiple choice) items and open questions in addition to an assessment of student PowerPoint presentations on one of the days of the School.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

Dr. Greg Bognar (Stockholm University)

Greg Bognar is Associate Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University and Senior Researcher at the Stockholm Centre for Healthcare Ethics (CHE). He is the co-author of The Ethics of Health Care Rationing (Routledge, 2014, second edition forthcoming in 2022) and co-editor of Aging without Agism? Conceptual Puzzles and Policy Proposals (forthcoming from Oxford University Press). His main research interests are in population-level bioethics and politics, philosophy, and economics (PPE), particularly in priority settings in health care, the ethical issues of demographic change and population ageing, and issues of distributive justice in public health.


Dr. Emilian Mihailov (University of Bucharest)

Emilian Mihailov is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Bucharest, and director of the Research Centre in Applied Ethics, within the Faculty of Philosophy. He has published on moral psychology, neuroethics, the ethics of enhancement and experimental bioethics in leading journals such as American Journal of Bioethics, Science and Engineering Ethics, Bioethics, Consciousness & Cognition, Review of Philosophy and Psychology. Emilian Mihailov is the director of the ENHATEC project, which aims to explore the ethical issues raised by enhancement technologies and how moral enhancement can address the existential threat of climate change.


Prof. José María Carrascosa (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

José María Carrascosa obtained his PhD at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid (UAM) in 1983 and moved to Munich for a postdoctoral stay at the Institute for Diabetes Research. Back at UAM in 1986, he continued his research on diabetes and obesity-associated ageing, becoming project leader in 1991. He became Associated Professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in 1989 and Full Professor in 2010. He has taught bioethics and science ethics to undergraduate and postgraduate students since 2008. He is member of the Research Ethics Committee of UAM and was Dean of the Faculty of Sciences (2013–2021).

Prof. Dr. Marius Ueffing (University of Tübingen)

Marius Ueffing is the Director of the Institute for Ophthalmic Research and Co-Chair of the Centre for Ophthalmology at the University Medical Center in Tübingen, one of the largest centers for ophthalmology in Europe. His research combines cellular and molecular physiology with genome and proteome analysis to analyse the impact of genetic and environmental factors on human health on a systemic level. The focus of the Ueffing lab is neurodegeneration in the retina with specific emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of disease towards the development of targeted therapy.

Dr. Oliver Feeney (University of Tübingen)

Dr. Feeney’s primary research is on the ethical, legal, and social (justice) implications of biomedical technologies, particularly the ethics and governance of genome editing; ethics of human enhancement; fostering trust with participatory involvement in science and medicine, and the role of patents in the context of new technologies. His PhD on Genetics and Justice (2009) combined political philosophy and bioethics and was awarded that year’s National Basil Chubb Prize for best PhD thesis in any field of politics in Ireland. His publications have appeared in Bioethics, Developing World Bioethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, and The American Journal of Bioethics. 

Dr. Gardar Árnason (University of Tübingen)

Gardar Árnason is currently the managing director of the research unit “Ethics of Genome Editing” at the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine. He studied philosophy at the University of Toronto, Canada (PhD 2006). His research focuses on the ethics of genetics, neuroethics and ethical issues in animal research. He is the author of Foucault and the Human Subject of Science (Springer 2018) and has published articles in Science and Engineering Ethics, Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, American Journal of Bioethics, AJOB Neuroscience, and Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy.

Dr. Davina Höll (University of Tübingen)  

Davina Höll holds a PhD in American Studies. She completed her dissertation on the politics and poetics of cholera at the interface of literary studies and medical history as part of the DFG Research Training Group "Life Sciences – Life Writing” at Mainz University. She currently works on her transdisciplinary post-doctoral project "Human Microbiomes and Antibiotic Resistance” in the Cluster of Excellence 2124 CMFI at Tübingen University, where she works on a project that investigates the historical, epistemological, and ethical implications of an anticipated paradigm shift concerning human microbes in the wake of the antibiotic resistance crisis.

Katharina Trettenbach (University of Tübingen)

With a background between biochemistry, psychology, neuroscience and medicine, Katharina has been a member of the research group Ethics of Genome Editing at the Institute for the Ethics and History of Medicine since 2017, where she has been pursuing doctoral research since 2020. Her dissertation project deals with the ethical challenges of translational research in Germline Genome Editing. Katharina also works at the Department for Medical Ethics at the University of Potsdam, working on medical ethics and digitization. Aside from research ethics, her research interests include neuroethics, the ethics of (bio)technologies and their intersections with the philosophy of medicine.

Dr. Katja Herges (University of Tübingen)

Katja Herges is a physician and literary scholar. In addition to her medical degree, she has earned a Ph.D. in German studies and feminist theory and research from the University of California, Davis. Previously, she has conducted translational research in neuroimmunology at Stanford University Medical school and has practised as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist in different clinical settings in Germany. In her current projects, she combines her interdisciplinary background in research in medical humanities with a focus on cultural studies of medicine. She has published on visual cultures of illness, body theory, life writing and chronic illness.

Regina Müller M.A. (University of Tübingen)

Regina Müller works at the Institute of Ethics and History of Medicine at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen. Her background is in philosophy and applied ethics, with a research focus on medical ethical issues regarding digitalization in medicine. In the “Check.App” project at the University of Tübingen, she investigates the ethical and social implications of health apps as an example for digital developments in medicine. Besides digitalization, she has strong interests in feminist perspectives in medicine and bioethics. At the CIVIS summer school, she will enjoy the opportunity to work together (with you) on feminist perspectives on genome editing.

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Ehni (University of Tübingen)

Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Ehni has a background in philosophy with a focus on moral philosophy and medical ethics. He is currently deputy director of the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine, University of Tübingen. His main areas of research are ethics and ageing and ethics of biomedical research involving human subjects. He is a member of the ethics commission of the federal board of physicians, Baden Wuerttemberg, and of the clinical ethics committee, University Clinic Tübingen.

Dr. Uta Müller (University of Tübingen)

Dr. Uta Müller, research assistant, International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW), University, Tübingen. She studied philosophy and political sciences at the universities of Heidelberg and Munich. Uta Müller is head of the department “Ethics and Education” of the IZEW and responsible for the interdisciplinary study program of the IZEW. Her research focuses on various issues in Applied Ethics, especially questions of didactics of philosophy and ethics, and ethical questions of the social sciences. She is also responsible for the certificate study program “Ethik in der Praxis” (for all students) at the University of Tübingen.