Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA

Assistant Director for Science Programs


Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA, is the Assistant Director for Science Programs for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Affiliate Faculty in the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine. Dr. Mathews earned her BS in Biology from the Pennsylvania State University and a PhD in genetics from Case Western Reserve University. Concurrent with her PhD, she earned a Master’s degree in bioethics, also from Case. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in genetics at Johns Hopkins, where she continued her work on human genetic variation and human population history. She also completed the Greenwall Fellowship in Bioethics and Health Policy, which is jointly administered by Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities. As a Greenwall Fellow, she worked at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, and the US Department of Health and Human Services. Until recently, Dr. Mathews served part time on the staff of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, as a Senior Policy and Research Analyst and a staff lead on the Commission’s genomics report. As the Assistant Director for Science Programs, Dr. Mathews is responsible for overseeing the Stem Cell Policy and Ethics program and the Program in Ethics and Brain Sciences, as well as other Institute initiatives in policy and ethics related to biomedical research and emerging technologies, including genetics and synthetic biology. She is also a member of the steering committee of the Hinxton Group, a consortium of scientists, ethicists, policy experts and other scholars committed to exploring ethics and policy challenges raised by stem cell science internationally. Dr. Mathews's research interests focus on the intersection of science, ethics and public policy.