Paul Root Wolpe, PhD

Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair of Jewish Bioethics
Paul Wolpe, PhD

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Paul Root Wolpe, Ph.D. is the Raymond F. Schinazi Distinguished Research Chair of Jewish Bioethics, Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Biological Behavior, and Sociology, and is currently working to establish the planned Center for Conflict Transformation, Mediation, Civic Dialogue and Peacebuilding. Dr. Wolpe served for 16 years (2008-2024) as the Director of the Center for Ethics, 17 years as the first Senior Bioethicist for NASA, and was the first National Bioethics Advisor to Planned Parenthood Federation of America. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience and he sits on the editorial boards of over a dozen professional journals in medicine and ethics. Dr. Wolpe is the Past President of the Association of Bioethics Program Directors, past President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities, a Fellow of the Hastings Center, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the country’s oldest medical society. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Judaism in 2019.

Dr. Wolpe publishes in medicine, technology, and ethics, and has contributed to many encyclopedias on ethical and bioethical issues. Trained as a social scientist – rare for an ethicist – Dr. Wolpe’s work focuses on the social, religious, ethical, and ideological impact of medicine and technology on the human condition. A founder of the field of neuroethics, which examines the ethical implications of neuroscience, over the last decade he has shifted his attention to the ethics of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data. He founded BEINGS, “Biotechnology and the Ethical Imagination: A Global Summit,” which brought together thought leaders from around the world to reach consensus on a set of ethical principles and policy standards for human genetic engineering. He has also been active in fields such as reproductive ethics, genetics, artificial intelligence, ethical leadership.  Dr. Wolpe also writes and teaches in Jewish Bioethics, and co-authored the guide to Jewish end-of-life issues, Behoref Hayamim: In the Winter of Life. He is the bioethics advisor to JScreen, the national Jewish Genetic Screening Program.

Dr. Wolpe was a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Responsible Science Committee that revised the canonical volume “Responsible Science,” and Co-Chaired the American Psychological Association’s Ethics Commission that examined the APA’s ethics procedures in light of its participation in ‘enhanced interrogation’ collaboration with the CIA and Department of Defense. He has been a member of the Selection Committees of the Canadian Networks of Centres of Excellence, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Dr. Wolpe sits on national and international boards and is a consultant to the biomedical industry. He has twice testified to the President’s Commission on the Study of Bioethical Issues in Washington, D.C. A dynamic and popular speaker internationally, Dr. Wolpe has been chosen by the website Faculty Row as a “SuperProfessor” and by The Teaching Company as a "Superstar Teacher of America," and his courses are distributed internationally on audio and videotape. A sought after consultant on business ethics and the ethics of philanthropy, Dr. Wolpe was named one of Trust Across America’s “Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior.” He won the 2011 World Technology Network Award in Ethics, has recorded a TED Talk with over 1.5 million views, and was profiled in the November, 2011 Atlantic Magazine as a “Brave Thinker of 2011.” Dr. Wolpe is a frequent contributor and commentator in both the broadcast and print media, having been featured on 60 Minutes and with a personal profile in the Science Times of the New York Times.

Areas of Expertise

  • Biotechnology and genetics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Corporate and Leadership ethics
  • Digital ethics and technology
  • General bioethics
  • General ethics
  • Jewish and religious ethics
  • Mental health and illness
  • Neuroscience and ethics
  • Reproductive and sexual ethics
  • Ethics of space travel and extreme environments
  • Research ethics