Teaching plan for the course unit



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General information


Course unit name: Bioethics

Course unit code: 575004

Academic year: 2021-2022

Coordinator: Gemma Marfany Nadal

Department: Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics

Credits: 2,5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 62.5


Face-to-face and/or online activities



-  Lecture with practical component





-  Problem-solving class





-  Practical exercises





-  Student presentation and discussion




Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


Basic competences (basic knowlege and skills)

CB1 - Acquire and understand knowledge that is reasoned, rational and original in the development and / or application of ideas, mainly in the context of research in the biological or health field.

CB2 - Ability to apply acquired knowledge and solve problems in new environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to experimental research.

CB3 - Ability to integrate knowledge and make judgments based on information, particularly those that include reflections on social and ethical responsibilities.

General competences (general skills)
CG1 - Acquire ethical commitment (critical and self-critical ability / ability to show attitudes consistent with ethical and deontological conceptions)

CG2 - Acquire the ability to learn and take responsibility (ability to analyze, apply knowledge in practice, make decisions and adapt to new situations)

CG3 - Learn to work in a team and contribute to a common project, ability to collaborate in interdisciplinary and multicultural teams

CG4 - Develop creative and entrepreneurial ability (ability to formulate, design and manage projects and ability to seek and integrate new knowledge and attitudes)

CG5 - Assume sustainability (ability to assess the ethical, social and environmental impact of research, with the ability to express integrated and systematic views)

CG6 - Develop communicative ability to understand and express themselves orally and in writing

CG7 - Ability to think critically, logically and creatively. Ability to analyze and synthesize.

CG8 - Ability for experimental design, research and writing of results and analysis of research in its field.

CG9 - Ability to relate new scientific advances and their scientific and social applications, with their ethical impact.

CG10 - Ability to interact and transfer their knowledge.

CG11 - Ability to manage and organize personal time and self-learning ability.

Specific competences (skills)

CE1 – Knowledge of the basic concepts of bioethics and its relationship with the applications of experimental science, in the biological and health field.

CE2 - Knowledge of fundamental aspects of bioethics in animal experimentation, with embryos, with human samples and with data from people.

CE3 - Ability to understand the bioethical implications of current experimental techniques.

CE4 - Promote reading and critical thinking on bioethical issues in the European and global context.

CE5 - Promote student participation in discussion and scientific-ethical debate

CE6 - Design research projects and understand the relevance of the bioethical issues involved.

CE7 - Knowledge of the codes of best practices, integrity in research and the role of Bioethics Committees in research.





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

The main purpose of this topic is to raise awareness of the major bioethical issues relevant to the field of biology and experimental scientific research, from different perspectives.

More specifically, the aims of this topic are:

1.- Thinking about global aspects of bioethics and whether global bioethics exists or should exist

2.- Understanding the bioethical considerations in clinical trials on humans.

3.- Informing on the relevance of Bioethics Committees and current legislation and normatives.



Referring to abilities, skills

4.- Learning how to approach bioethical issues in research project applications, what are the relevant points if model animals in experimentation are required, if embryo cells, organoid or human samples are used, and how to collect and store personal data.

5.- Critical reading of bioethics documents.


Referring to attitudes, values and norms

6.- Promoting a critical spirit about the need to consider bioethical aspects in scientific research



Teaching blocks



*  Introductory lectures to several aspects of bioethics. 

1.1. Bioethics. An introduction, origin and evolution

1.2. Bioethics. A view from the institutions and legal frameworks

1.3. Ethics in research, plagiarism, manipulation, invention. Research integrity.

1.4. Bioethical questions in experimental research and teaching. Animal models. The 3Rs. Norms and Directives.

1.5. Bioethical questions in experimental research and teaching. Human samples. Informed consent. Compliance of aims and social/personal return. 

1.6. Bioethical questions in health and medicine. Clinical trials. Bioethical questions in social sciences. Polls and questionnaires. Recording.

1.7. Bioethical questions in a global world (I): Clima change, famine, water, biodiversity

1.8. Bioethical questions in a global world (II): equity, global health, medicines, pandemics

1.9. Bioethical questions for the future world



2.2. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS. Microorganisms, yeasts, plants, crops, animals

2.3. PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE DATA. BIG DATA. AI Life. Anonimity. Privacity. Confidentiality. AI and life

2.4. ETHICS AND BIOETHICS COMMITTEES. How to approach bioethical issues in research projects

2.5. FUTURE BIOETHIC CHALLENGES, Gene editing, precision medicine, species modification, cyborgs, technology and life





Teaching methods and general organization


- Lectures with both theoretical and practical components (10 h).

- Practical sessions (5 + 5 h). Previous reading and team work. Presentation of pros and cons, practical cases and Debate.

- Seminars (5 h). Presented by groups of students to study and analyze specific subjects according to the interests of students and the coordinator.

Other off-line activities

Activities supervised by the coordinator = 15 h

- Students who present seminars must prepare, based on specific bibliography, a presentation to be defended in front of other students. They will be supervised by the coordinator.

- Students will have to prepare an essay on a topic related to the subject. They will receive supervision from the coordinator.


 Autonomous learning = 22 h

- Before the presential theory classes, the student must review the teaching material used and available in the Campus Virtual.

- After the theory classes, the student should critically analyze the contents, using not only the notes of the classes but also the supplementary material suggested by the teacher.

- The student should take into account the deadlines and schedule established to carry the tasks and present them on time..

- The student also needs to work on the contents of the virtual campus and recommended readings.

- Students will have to prepare a research project, with emphasis on the bioethical issues and how to approach them.



Official assessment of learning outcomes


The evaluation will consist of an assessment of the knowledge acquired and attitudes of the student during the course. As the group has a limited number of students, the coordinator will takes into account attendance and participation in theory and practical classes and seminars, up to 10% of the final grade.

The presentation and defense in seminars will be evaluated up to 40% of the final grade.

A short critical essay on any of the topics covered in class will represent 25% of the final grade and the presentation of a research project at the end, emphasizing bioethical considerations, will represent another 25% of the final grade. Quality of the critical appraisal, and depth of arguments will be considered positively.

For Master students, the assay and the presentation of a research project will be evaluated with 45% of the final grade each.

The re-evaluation, if applicable, will be carried out in accordance with the current regulations of the Facultat de Biologia (UB).



Examination-based assessment

As the course will be compacted in two weeks, the evaluation will be continuous.