This online course was developed by the Columbia Center for Bioethics, under the leadership of Dr. Ruth Fischbach, with support from the New York State Stem Cell Initiative (NYSTEM), and assistance from the Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL).

Authors & Contributors

Ruth L. Fischbach, PhD, MPE

Dr. Ruth L. Fischbach is Director and Co-founder of Columbia University’s Center for Bioethics. As Professor of Bioethics in the College of Physicians and Surgeons (P&S) and Mailman School of Public Health, she serves on many committees including the IRB, the Stem Cell Oversight Committee, and the two hospital ethics committees, all designed to protect the rights and promote the welfare of patients and research participants. Dr. Fischbach is Course Director for the 4th Year Bioethics Elective at P&S and is one of the four course faculty for the New York State Stem Cell Initiative-funded “Stem Cells: Biology, Bioethics, and Applications,” at Columbia College. Before coming to Columbia, Dr. Fischbach was on the faculty at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard Medical School and served as Special Advisor for Biomedical Ethics for the Director of Extramural Research at the NIH. Her current work focuses on bioethics and research ethics, with particular focus on neuroethics, stem cell research, and advances in assisted reproductive technology. She is the principal investigator of a study exploring perceived stigma in autism. For more information on Dr. Fischbach and her work, please go to

Ruth L. Fischbach, PhD, MPE
Professor of Bioethics
Director, Center for Bioethics
Columbia University, P&S 3-470
630 West 168th Street, Box 161
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305-8387
Fax: (212) 342-0451
Web site:

John D. Loike, PhD

Dr. John D. Loike is the Co-Director for Graduate Studies in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics and Director of Special Programs in the Center for Bioethics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He also serves as faculty editor of the Columbia University Journal of Bioethics, and course instructor for Frontiers in Bioethics, Ethics for Biomedical Engineers, and Stem Cells: Biology, Bioethics, and Applications, at Columbia College and Graduate Physiology at the Medical Center. Dr. Loike is the creator and director of BioCEP (Bioethical Cross-cultural Educational Program), a novel educational summer enrichment workshop that allows students and faculty to explore contemporary and contentious bioethical issues in developing countries. His scientific research focuses on how human white blood cells combat infections and cancer.

Columbia University, P&S 11-444
630 West 168th Street,
New York, NY 10032
Phone: (212) 305 -1510
Fax: (212) 305 - 5775

Janet Mindes, PhD

Dr. Janet Mindes is a Consultant with the Center for Bioethics (CfB), Columbia University, working on a series of projects in bioethics. She is co-author with Dr. Ruth Fischbach of the CfB’s online distance-learning courses: "Neuroethics: Implications of Advances in Neuroscience," and, with Drs. Ruth Fischbach and John Loike, of “Stem Cells: Biology, Bioethics, and Applications.” Dr. Mindes' professional training is in experimental psychology (memory and cognition). She has since primarily been involved with research and education in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), as relevant to cognitive aging, mood disorders, and other neuropsychiatric concerns. She was Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at Barnard College and at New York University, and also taught psychology at Marymount College and Columbia College. At Columbia, Dr. Mindes was with the Rosenthal Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, College of P&S, where she conducted research and educated medical and post-graduate students. She also was associated with the Division of Brain Stimulation and Therapeutic Modulation, Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Mindes' primary neuroscience interests concern mind/brain/body and affective processes. Her primary bioethical interests concern neuroethics.

Center for Bioethics
630 West 168th Street, P&S 3-470
New York, NY 10032
Phone: 212-342-1295

Columbia Center for New Media Teaching & Learning

The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) was founded at Columbia University in 1999 to enhance teaching and learning through the purposeful use of new media and technology. In partnership with faculty, the Center supports efforts ranging from basic course website management to advanced project development. CCNMTL is committed to remaining a leader in the field of new media teaching and learning, engaging faculty, educators, librarians, partner institutions, and the community in the reinvention of education for the digital age.

Project Manager
Steve Welsh, Educational Technologist

For more information, go to
phone: (212) 854-9058