Dr. Debra J.H. Mathews is an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research focuses on the intersection of science, public policy and society.
Dr. Mathews serves as the assistant director for science programs for the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.
She earned her B.S. in biology from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in genetics from Case Western Reserve University. Concurrent with her Ph.D., she earned a master’s degree in bioethics from Case Western. She completed a postdoctoral 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 University.
As a Greenwall fellow, Dr. Mathews worked at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, where, among other work, she investigated the views of geneticists on their role(s) in science policy formation and public engagement. In addition, during a three-month internship at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Office of Science and Data Policy, she worked with the privacy advocate on issues related to large data systems.
As the assistant director for science programs at the Berman Institute of Bioethics, 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 bench research-related endeavors in the Berman Institute. 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 in an international context.
In 2011, Dr. Mathews served as a senior policy and research analyst on the staff of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She received a 2014 grant from the Institute for Excellence in Education to develop a massive open online course (MOOC) on the ethics and policy issues related to synthetic biology.