85284 - Bioethics

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Silvia Zullo

  • Learning modules Giorgio Spedicato (Modulo 1)
    Silvia Zullo (Modulo 2)

  • Credits 6

  • SSD IUS/04

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures (Modulo 1)
    Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)

  • Language English


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

Students will be provided with a philosophical and legal foundation on which basis to critically assess potentially controversial ethical issues emerging out of the new situations and possibilities brought about through the advance of biology and medicine, and in particular through the development and use of genomics.

Course contents

The course will be divided into two modules.

The Bioethics module will address the main ethical, social and (partially) legal issues that characterize the current relationship between scientific data and the normative aspect. To this end, the module will be structured in two parts: in the first, it will be explored arguments and methods of bioethics; in the second part, these tools will be applied to specific issues raised from the use of genomics technology (personalized medicine and NGS, predictive medicine and genetic testing, gene therapy and genome editing). The two complementary parts aim to lead the student into the framing of bioethical problems, using the rational argumentation method in their solution.

The Intellectual Property module deals with the patent protection of invention, both under domestic and international legislation, with a specific focus on inventions in the medical and biotechnological field.


Due to the innovative nature of the course, there is no reference text book, but will be provided slide of lessons, scientific articles and supplementary teaching materials that will be made available on


There will be also suggested texts that cover each part of the course.

Teaching methods

Teaching explanations of ethical, social and legal subject-matter will be dialogic, i.e. case studies, focus groups, interconnected with the students' particular questions, interests or requests, in order to stimulate autonomy of judgment and critical ability.

Assessment methods

For both attending and non-attending students, the exam takes place in written form, it consists of 3-4 open questions for each Module and  it is focus on the contents previously specified for Bioethics and Intellectual Property.

The exam will be carried out taking into consideration: 

- the knowledge of the principles of bioethics;

- the knowledge and the application of the bioethical reasoning to  the questions raised by genomic Technologies;

- the knowledge of the institutes of intellectual property;

- the ability to analyze the different interpretative guidelines, the ability to make  connections between the different parts of the program, the ability to develop critical arguments, the articulation of exposure, the exposure accuracy.

The exam will be written only on the first date of the summer session, and will be oral on all subsequent dates.

Teaching tools

Lectures will also deal with National, International and European case law on the subject-matter and will be provided references on these cases.


Students with learning disorders or other impairments who need special aids can point that out to the instructor, who will make appropriate arrangements to that end.

Office hours

See the website of Silvia Zullo

See the website of Giorgio Spedicato