Lisa S Parker

  • Professor and Director, Center for Bioethics & Health Law
  • Director, Master of Arts Program in Bioethics
  • Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics, Schools of the Health Sciences

Dr. Parker, a philosopher-bioethicist and Fellow of The Hastings Center, collaborates with investigators across the University, as well as national and international colleagues, on both empirical studies and theoretical and policy analyses of bioethical issues. Her research focuses on ethical issues in the design and conduct of research—particularly genetic/genomic, mental health, and neurotechnology research and the use of predictive analytics—as well as genetic counseling and pharmacogenomics. Topics of particular interest include return of results, management of incidental findings, informed consent, and privacy protection. She has a long-standing interest in the effect of new technologies and policies on health disparities and on those situated with less power in social hierarchies.

For the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Parker serves on the National Advisory Council for the Genome Research Institute and the Expert Scientific Panel of the Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Network. She served as Chair of the NHGRI Genomics & Society Working Group 2015-2017 and rejoined the GSWG for a second term (2020-2024). She served on NIH ad hoc review panels, the ELSI Study Section, and the Societal and Ethical Issues in Research Study Section. She participated in two NIH Working Groups—Managing Incidental Findings in Human Subjects Research and Managing Incidental Findings and Research Results in Genomic Biobanks & Archives—and has consulted on projects of the NIMH, NIDA, and NICHD, as well as reviewing projects for the Department of Defense, Wellcome Trust, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund.

For the University, Dr. Parker provides ethics expertise to the Institute for Precision Medicine and numerous research projects, as well as the Data Governance Sub-Committee of the Information Technology Advisory Committee. For the Office of Research, she directs the Research, Ethics, and Society Initiative. She has participated in development of University policies on vaccination, institutional conflict of interest, biobanking, and licensing of human subjects’ samples and data. She served on the Steering Committee for the Provost’s Year of Humanities and Year of Data and Society initiatives, and was elected to a three-year term representing the School of Public Health in the Faculty Assembly (2022-2025). She is a co-investigator on projects investigating clinical use of genomic sequencing, prediction and prevention of opioid overdose, and neurotechnologies to address pain and substance use disorder.

Dr. Parker directs the University’s Center for Bioethics & Health Law, as well as the Master of Arts Program in Bioethics in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences, and co-directs School of Medicine's Area of Concentration in Medical Humanities and Ethics. Director of the Center’s Health Humanities Lecture Series and its Healthcare and Religion Lecture Series, she collaborates with the Honors College’s Religion and Health Sciences Scholar Community and with the DSAS Certificate in Health Humanities open to all Pitt undergraduates. She teaches research ethics for the School of Public Health, in addition to courses in the Bioethics Program, the Genetic Counseling Program, and the Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies Program, where she serves on the program’s Steering Committee and participates in its Gender and Medicine Initiative. For the Center for Philosophy of Science, where she is a Resident Fellow, she teaches in the Pittsburgh Summer Program for undergraduates from groups underrepresented in philosophy of science.


1990 | University of Pittsburgh | PhD in Philosophy


Ethical Issues in Clinical and Public Health Genetics
Ethical Issues in Genomic Medicine & Research
Feminist Theory
Gender, Ethics, & the Body
Research Ethics & the Responsible Conduct of Research

Search for students' electronic thesis and dissertations

Selected Publications

Hulsey E, Hershey T, Parker LS, Kuza C, Fedro-Byrom S, Gellad W. Using Prediction Algorithms to Identify Individuals at Risk of a Fatal Overdose: A Promising Opportunity that Requires a Comprehensive Legal Framework, Health Affairs Forefront, November 22, 2022.

Parker LS. The future of incidental findings: Should they be viewed as benefits? Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 2008; 36(2):341-351. PMID: 18547203

Shirts BH, Parker LS. Changing interpretations, stable genes: responsibilities of patients, professionals, and policymakers in the clinical interpretation of complex genetic information. Genetics in Medicine, 2008; 10(11):778–783. doi: 10.1097/GIM.0b013e31818bb38f. PMID: 18941419

Wolf SM et al.. Managing incidental findings and research results in genomic research involving biobanks and archived data sets. Genetics in Medicine, 2012; 14(4): 361-384. doi: 10.1038/gim.2012.23. PMID: 22436882

Parker LS. Returning individual research results: What role should people’s preferences play. Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology, 2012; 13(2): 449-484.

Parker LS. In sport and social justice, is genetic enhancement a game changer? Health Care Analysis, 2012 20(4):328-46 doi: 10.1007/s10728-012-0226-z. PMID: 22983765

Parker LS, Satkoske VB. Ethical dimensions of disparities in depression research and treatment in the pharmacogenomic era. Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics, 2012; 40(4): 886–903. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720x.2012.00718.x. PMID: 23289692

Parker LS, London AJ, Aronson JD. Incidental findings in the use of DNA to identify human remains: An ethical assessment. Forensic Science International: Genetics, 2013; 7:(2): 221-229. doi: 10.1016/j.fsigen.2012.10.002. PMID: 23116722

London AJ, Parker LS, Aronson JD. DNA identification after conflict or disaster. Science, 2013 348:1178-1179. doi: 10.1126/science.1238085. PMID: 24031004

Cohen DA, Shirts BH, Jackson BR, Parker LS. Laboratory informatics based evaluation of methylene tetrahydrofolate reductase C677T genetic test overutilization. Journal of Pathology Informatics, 2013; 4:33. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.122389. PMID: 24392247

Dal-Ré R, Katsanis N, Katsanis S, Parker LS, Ayuso C. Managing incidental genomic findings in clinical trials: Fulfillment of the principle of justice. PLOS Medicine, 2014; 11(1): e1001584. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001584. PMID: 24453945

Grubs RE, Parker LS, Hamilton RJ. Subtle psychosocial sequelae of genetic test results. Current Genetic Medicine Reports, 2014; 2:242-249. doi: 10.1007/s40142-014-0053-7

Parker LS, Grubs RE. Ethical considerations regarding classroom use of personal genomic information. Journal of Microbiology & Biology Education, 2014 15(2):191-196. doi: PMID: 25574277

Seaman JB, Terhorst L, Gentry A, Hunsaker A, Parker LS, Lingler JH. Psychometric properties of a decisional capacity screening tool for individuals contemplating participation in Alzheimer's Disease research. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2015; 46(1):1-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-142559. PMID: 25765917.

Ferrari R, Parker LS, Grubs RE. Sickle cell trait screening of collegiate athletes: ethical reasons for program reform. Journal of Genetic Counseling, 2015; 24(6):873-7. doi: 10.1007/s10897-015-9849-1. PMID: 26040250.

Kalynchuk EJ, Althouse A, Parker LS, Rajkovic A. Prenatal whole exome sequencing: parental attitudes. Prenatal Diagnosis, 2015; 35(10):1030-6. doi: 10.1002/pd.4635 PMID: 26151551.

Adams SM, Anderson KL, Coons JC, Smith RB, Meyer SM, Parker LS, Empey PE. Advancing pharmacogenomics education in the core PharmD curriculum through student personal genomic testing. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 2016; 80(1).

Sankar PL,Parker LS. The Precision Medicine Initiative’s All of Us Research Program: an agenda for research on its ethical, legal, and social issues.Genetics in Medicine, 2017; 19(7):743-750. doi:10.1038/gim.2016.183

Pradhu A, Parker LS, DeVita M.Caring for Patients or Organs: New Therapies Raise New Dilemmas in the Emergency Department. American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB), 2017; 17(5): 6-16;doi: 10.1080/15265161.2017.1299239

Parker LS, Sankar PL, Boyer J, McEwan J, Kaufman D. Normative and Conceptual ELSI Research: What it is, and why it’s important. Genetics in Medicine, 4 July 2018; PMID:29970926 DOI: 10.1038/s41436-018-0065-x

Herrington ER, Parker LS. Narrative methods for assessing “quality of life” in hand transplantation: five case studies with bioethical commentary.Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 2019; 22: 407–425 DOI: 10.1007/s11019-018-09881-4

The COVID-19 Task Force of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD). Ethical Challenges Arising in the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Overview from the Association of Bioethics Program Directors (ABPD) Task Force.American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB), 2020, 20(7):15-27. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2020.1764138

Spector-Bagdady K et al. Flattening the Rationing Curve: The Need for Explicit Guidelines for Implicit Rationing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB),2020, 20(7): 77-80. doi: 10.1080/15265161.2020.1779409

Thomas R, Parker LS, Shiffman S. The Ethics of Tobacco Harm Reduction: An Analysis of E-Cigarette Availability From the Perspectives of Utilitarianism, Bioethics, and Public Health Ethics.Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 2021, 23(1): 3-8. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntaa198. PMID: 33002156.

Raymond MB, Cooper KE, Parker LS, Bonham VL. Practices and Attitudes Toward Returning Genomic Research Results to Low-Resource Research Participants.Public Health Genomics,Epub 2021 Jul 6:1-12. doi: 10.1159/000516782.

Parker LS. Ethics Centers’ Conflicts of Interest and the Failure of Disclosure to Remedy this Endemic Problem.Teaching Ethics, 2021, 21(2):239-253.

Alreja A, Ward MJ, Ma Q, Russ BE, Bickel A, Van Wouwe NC, Gonzalez-Martinez JA, Neimat JS, Abel TJ, Bagic A, Parker LS, Richardson RM, Schroeder CE, Morency L, Ghuman AS, A New Paradigm for Investigating Real-World Social Behavior and its Neural Underpinnings,Behavior Research Methods,25 July 2022, doi: