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Dr John Appleby SFHEA

Lecturer in Medical Ethics

John Appleby

Furness Building



Research overview

I am a philosopher and I work on theoretical and applied issues in moral and political philosophy. My work currently focuses on the ethics of reproduction (especially the ethics of the donation of reproductive materials), the ethics and law of medicine and environmental sustainability, and a bit of work on the philosophy of sport.

With respect to my work on reproductive ethics, I am currently conducting research on a number of topics, including:

- gamete and embryo donation;

- mitochondrial replacement techniques / mitochondrial donation (aka 'three person IVF');

- artificial gametes/in-vitro derived gametes;

- synthetic embryos & SHEEFS;

- ectogenesis/artificial wombs;

- 14-day rule & 28-day rule.

Other related technologies I am researching include:

- organoids;

- biofabrication and lab grown organs;

- CRISPR (gene editing).

I am also carrying out theoretical philosophical research on themes of:

- trust;

- hope;

- privacy vs information sharing;

- identity;

- the nature of children's welfare;

- the value of genetic relatedness;

- the value/significance of genetic information. 


My work on the ethics and law of medicine and environmental sustainability is an ambitious and wide ranging programme of work. A full description of this project is forthcoming, along with the release of a portfolio of publications that are currently in progress and in press. 


At Lancaster Medical School I sit on a number of committees including the Faculty of Health and Medicine Research Ethics Committee and the UA92 Special Advisory Group. I am a member of the Medicine and Sustainability Working Group and am an Associate Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion. 

I am a member of the steering committee for the Northern Bioethics Network.

I am part of a small team of academics that teaches, assesses and administrates the Medical School's Professional Practice, Values and Ethics theme. 

I also lecture on the ethics and legal issues surrounding sports and sports science, as part of the Sports and Exercise Science Degree at the Medical School. 

I co-founded (with Giulia Cavaliere) the Lancaster Medical School PhD programme in Medical Ethics and Law in 2021.

In 2020 I began a new programme of research and teaching (UG and PG) on the ethics and law of medicine and environmental sustainability. This teaching has been used to inform and develop similar teaching at other universities around the UK and internationally.

I currently act as an expert advisor and consultant for a number of foreign governments on the ethics and law of novel biotechnologies and the donation of reproductive materials. 

PhD supervision

Please get in touch if you are interested in undertaking a PhD in applied ethics.

My Role

Director of Post-Graduate Taught Programmes, Lancaster Medical School

Lecturer in Medical Ethics

Director of the MSc in Clinical Research, Lancaster Medical School

Director of the PhD in Medical Ethics and Law, Lancaster Medical School

Associate Director of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation


Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2019)

PhD (Bioethics - Moral Philosophy) (Cambridge) (2014)

MA (Bioethics - Moral Philosophy) (New York University) (2009)

Hons. BSc (Bioethics - Moral Philosophy & Life Sciences)  (University of Toronto) (2008)


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