Donna Dickenson, Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics at the University of London, specialises in presenting thorny ethical issues about the new biotechnologies to a wide popular audience. In 2006 she won the International Spinoza Lens Award for her contribution to public debate on ethics—becoming the first woman to be awarded the prize, whose other winners have included Edward Said, Michael Walzer and Richard Sennett.
Her 2008 book Body Shopping was described by Phillip Pullman as 'urgent and illuminating'. It argues that research into new biotechnologies—genetics, stem cells, ‘surrogacy’, egg sales—shouldn’t be treated as a ‘free market’, not just because it will lead to injustice and exploitation, but because it will actually hamper the progress of science—for instance, when commercial firms stake patents on human genes and impede rival researchers from developing cheaper, better products.
Donna’s new book, Bioethics, part of the innovative Hodder ‘All That Matters’ series of introductions to timely topics, asks controversial questions about the relationship between ‘God, Mammon and biotechnology’ and the question ‘Are genes us?’
She has spoken at the Edinburgh, Oxford and Dartington Literary Festivals, the Royal Society for the Arts, the Labour party conference, the Royal Society for Medicine, the Science Museum, and academic conferences around the world. Her radio and television appearances include BBC Radio 3 ‘Night Waves’, Radio 4 ‘Thinking Aloud’ and ‘Woman’s Hour’, and BBC and ITV news feature programmes.