Jason Scott Robert, PhD

Current position 

Arizona State University, 2004 -

Dean’s Distinguished (Associate) Professor in the Life Sciences (2009-)


McMaster University, Department of Philosophy, 1996 - 2000

Ph.D. Dissertation: Taking Development Seriously: Toward a Genuinely Synthetic Biology.   Supervisory committee: Barry Allen (supervisor), Michael Ruse (Florida State), William Wimsatt (Chicago).  External: Evelyn Fox Keller (MIT)

The University of Chicago, Conceptual Foundations of Science, 1999

Fulbright Scholar.  Project: The Political Puzzle of North American Genomics.  Supervisor: William Wimsatt

McMaster University, Department of Philosophy, 1994 - 1996

M.A. Thesis: Biotechnologies of the Self: The Human Genome Project and Modern Subjectivity.  Supervisor: Barry Allen

Queen's University at Kingston, Department of Philosophy, 1990-1994


Selected publications

Robert JS. 2004. Embryology, Epigenesis, & Evolution: Taking Development Seriously. New York: Cambridge University Press [link].

Edited books

Guston D, Finn E, Robert JS. (Eds.). 2017. Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds. Cambridge: MIT Press. [link].


Hays SA, Robert JS, Miller CA, Bennett I. (Eds.). 2012. Nanotechnology, the Brain, and the Future. Dordrecht: Springer [link].

Articles (selected)

  • Disney AA, Robert JS. 2019. Translational Implications of the Anatomical Nonequivalence of Functionally Equivalent Cholinergic Circuit Motifs. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science USA 116.52: 26181-26186. [pdf]

  • Robert JS. 2018. Rereading Frankenstein: What if Victor Frankenstein Had Actually Been Evil? Hastings Center Report 48.6: 21-24. [pdf]

  • Piemonte N, Truten J, Robert JS. 2018. The Reflective Scribe: Encouraging Critical Self-Reflection and Professional Development in Pre-Health Education. The Journal of Medical Humanities 39.4: 447-454. [pdf]

  • Robert, JS. 2017. The Epigenesis of Obesity. Human Development 60: 95-106. [pdf]

  • Robert JS. 2017. Can Communication Scholarship Help to Bridge the Gap in Translational Research? Review of Communication 17: 214-223. [pdf]

  • Caselli RJ, Marchant GE, Hunt KS, Henslin BR, Kosiorek HE, Langbaum J, Robert JS, Dueck AC. 2015. Predictive Testing for Alzheimer's Disease: Suicidal Ideation in Healthy Participants. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 29.3: 252-254.

  • Caselli RJ, Langbaum J, Marchant GE, Lindor RA, Hunt KS,  Henslin BR, Dueck AC, and Robert JS. 2014. Public Perceptions of Presymptomatic Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 89: 1389-1396.

  • Robert JS. 2013. Stem Cell Research Oversight: Personal Reflections and Public Reasoning. The American Journal of Bioethics 13.1: 66-68 [pdf].

  • Haimes E, Skene L, Ballantyne AJ, Caulfield T, Goldstein LS, Hyun I, Kimmelman J, Robert JS, Roxland BE, Scott, CT, Solbakk JH, Sugarman J, Taylor PL, Testa G. 2013. Position Statement on the Provision and Procurement of Human Eggs for Stem Cell Research. Cell Stem Cell 12: 285-291 [pdf].

  • Kato K, Kimmelman J, Robert J, Sipp D, Sugarman J. 2012. Ethical and Policy Issues in the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells: Report of a Focus Session at the ISSCR 10th Annual Meeting. Cell Stem Cell 11: 765-767 [pdf].

  • Hurlbut JB, Robert JS. 2012a. Stem Cells, Science, and Public Reasoning. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31.3: 707-714 [pdf].

  • Hurlbut JB, Robert JS. 2012b. Good Governance Connects Science and Society. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 31.3 722-726 [pdf].

  • Carvalho TB, Rady MY, Verheijde JL, Robert JS. 2011. Continuous Deep Sedation in End-of-Life Care: Disentangling Palliation from Physician-Assisted Death. The American Journal of Bioethics 11.6: 60-62.

  • Marchant GE, Robert JS. 2010. Genetic Testing for Autism Predisposition: Ethical, Legal and Social Challenges. The Houston Journal of Health Law and Policy 9: 203-235 [pdf].

  • ​Robert JS. 2009. Toward a Better Bioethics. Science and Engineering Ethics 15: 283-291 [pdf].

  • Miller FA, Robert JS, Hayeems RZ. 2009. Questioning the Consensus: Managing Carrier Status Results Generated by Newborn Screening. American Journal of Public Health 99: 209-215 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2008. The Comparative Biology of Human Nature. Philosophical Psychology 21: 425-436 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2008. Taking Old Ideas Seriously: Evolution, Development, and Human Behavior. New Ideas in Psychology 26: 387-404 [pdf].

  • Maienschein J, Sunderland M, Ankeny RA, Robert JS. 2008. The Ethos and Ethics of Translational Research [Target article with commentaries and response]. The American Journal of Bioethics 8.3: 43-51 [pdf].

  • Miller FA, Giacomini M, Robert JS, Christensen R. 2008. Duty to Disclose What? Querying the Putative Obligation to Return Research Results to Participants. Journal of Medical Ethics 34: 210-213 [pdf].

  • Miller FA, Giacomini M, Ahern C, Robert JS, de Laat S. 2007. When Research Seems Like Clinical Care: A Qualitative Study of the Communication of Individual Cancer Genetic Research Results. BMC Medical Ethics 9.4 [link].

  • Giacomini M, Baylis F, Robert JS. 2007. Banking on It: Public Policy and the Ethics of Stem Cell Research and Development. Social Science & Medicine 65: 1490-1500 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2007. Gene Maps, Brain Scans, and Psychiatric Nosology. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 16: 209-218 [pdf].

  • Baylis F, Robert JS. 2006. Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research: An Argument for National Research Review. Accountability in Research 13: 207-224 [pdf].

  • Robert JS, Kirk DD. 2006. Ethics, Biotechnology, and Global Health: The Development of Vaccines in Transgenic Plants. The American Journal of Bioethics 6.4: W29-W41 [pdf].

  • Robert JS, Maienschein J, Laubichler M. 2006. Systems Bioethics and Stem Cell Biology. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 3: 19-31 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2006. The Science and Ethics of Making Part-human Animals in Stem Cell Biology. FASEB Journal 20: 838-845 [pdf].

  • Kirk DD, Robert JS. 2005. Assessing Commercial Feasibility: A Practical and Ethical Prerequisite for Human Clinical Testing. Accountability in Research 12: 281-297 [pdf].

  • Baylis F, Robert JS. 2004. The Inevitability of Genetic Enhancement Technologies. Bioethics 18: 1-26 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2004. Model Systems in Stem Cell Biology. BioEssays 26: 1005-1012 [pdf].

  • Robert JS, Smith A. 2004. Toxic Ethics: Environmental Genomics and the Health of Populations. Bioethics 18.6: 493-514 [pdf].

  • Robert JS, Baylis F. 2003. Crossing Species Boundaries [target article with commentaries and response]. The American Journal of Bioethics 3.3: 1-13 [pdf].

  • Robert JS. 2003. Developmental Systems and Animal Behaviour. Biology & Philosophy 18: 477-489 [pdf].

Book chapters (selected)
  • Preuss TM, Robert JS. 2014. Animal Models of the Human Brain: Repairing the Paradigm. In The Cognitive Neurosciences V, eds. MS Gazzaniga and GR Mangun. (Cambridge: MIT Press), pp. 59-66. 

  • Robert JS, Miller CA, Milleson V. 2012. Introduction: Ethics and Anticipatory Governance of Nano-Neurotechnological Convergence. In Nanotechnology, The Brain, and The Future, eds. SA Hays, JS Robert, CA Miller, and I Bennett I (Springer), pp. 1-18 [link].

  • Maienschein J, Robert JS. 2009. What Is An Embryo and How Do We Know? In The Healthy Embryo, eds. JA Nisker, F Baylis, I Karpin, C McLeod, and R Mykitiuk (Cambridge University Press), pp. 1-15 [link].

  • Robert JS. 2008. Evo-devo. In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Biology, ed. M. Ruse (Oxford University Press), pp. 291-309 [link].

  • Robert JS. 2008. Nanoscience, Nanoscientists, and Controversy. In Nanotechnology and Society: Current and Emerging Ethical Issues, eds. F. Allhoff and P. Lin (Springer), pp. 225-239 [link].

  • Robert JS. 2008. Behavioural Genetics. In The Cambridge Textbook of Bioethics, ed. P.A. Singer (Cambridge University Press), pp. 174-182 [link].

  • Smith A, Robert JS. 2008. Conceptual and Normative Dimensions of Toxicogenomics. In Genomics and Environmental Regulation: Science, Ethics, and Law, eds. RR Sharp, GE Marchant, JA Grodsky (Johns Hopkins University Press), pp. 219-241 [link].

  • Robert JS. 2007. Molecular and Systems Biology and Bioethics. In The Cambridge Companion to Philosophy of Biology, eds. M. Ruse and D.L. Hull (Cambridge University Press), pp. 361-371 [link].

  • Baylis F, Robert JS. 2006. Radical Rupture: Exploring Biological Sequelae of Volitional Inheritable Genetic Modification. In The Ethics of Inheritable Genetic Modification: A Dividing Line? eds. R Ankeny, J Rasko, and G. O’Sullivan (Cambridge University Press), pp. 131-148 [link].

  • Robert JS. 2003. Developmental Systems Theory. In Key Concepts and Approaches in Evolutionary Developmental Biology, eds. BK Hall and WM Olson (Harvard University Press), pp. 94-97 [link].

© 2014-2021 by Jason Scott Robert, PhD. Cover photo credit: Mark Craft, ASU.