Dr Simon Woods
Reader in Bioethics. PEALS Deputy-Director
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 3254
- Fax: +44 (0) 191 243 0814
- Personal Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/peals
- Address: PEALS (Policy, Ethics & Life Sciences) Research Centre
4th Floor Claremont Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne
I am a philosopher who works in bioethics, medical ethics and social philosophy. My early career was as a cancer nurse where my work as the manager of a regional Adult Leukaemia and Bone-marrow Transplant unit provoked my interest in ethical issues such as end of life decisions, clinical research and the relationship between patients, families and health-professionals. Over the next few years I pursued my developing research interests in end of life and palliative care, professional communication and clinical ethics as a Macmillan lecturer at Liverpool University. During this time I researched my PhD which addressed the social and ethical implications of the concept of 'quality of life' as applied to healthcare. My first academic position at the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy at Manchester University focused on the delivery of clinical ethics education for health professionals within the North-West of England as well as conducting international research on the values of Palliative care in Europe as a member of the PALLIUM Project. I joined PEALS (the Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre) in 2003 as a Senior Lecturer and Co-Director. Since joining PEALS my research interests have expanded to include medical technology, genomics, 'Big Data' for health care but I continue to have a strong interest in research ethics, end of life issues and the patient experience.
Roles and Responsibilities
Co-Director of the Policy Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre (PEALS)
School Post-Graduate Research Director
Research Ethics Convenor for the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology
Research Ethics Committee Member: Faculty of Medical Sciences and Faculty of Science Agriculture and Engineering
PhD Bioethics (Manchester)
B.A. (Hons) Philosophy
Lecturer in Bioethics, Institute of Medicine Law and Bioethics/ Centre for Social ethics and Policy, School of Law, University of Manchester.
School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, University of Manchester. Lecturer in Nursing (Feb. 1998 – Oct 1999).
Department of Nursing, University of Liverpool: Macmillan Lecturer in Cancer Nursing (1993 –1998).
Bioethics/ Medical Ethics and social philosophy. As a philosopher working within medical ethics and bioethics I am interested in the relationship and constructive contributions of philosophical and empirical approaches to interdisciplinary research. Central themes in my work include; the nature and scope of autonomy, professional power and responsibility, personal choice and best interests, ethics and governance within medical/ health-care practices and the life sciences. These themes have been the basis of my research within substantive areas such as end of life care and decisions, clinical and research ethics and the burgeoning area of genomics as well as the technological advances within the medical life-sciences. My work has also addressed a wider range of issues such as the relationship between the life-sciences and art, science and society and the relationships and potential tensions between medicine in society and the emergence of social phenomena such as ‘recreational’ genomics and body ‘projects’ such as tattooing and body modification.
A wide selection of my publications can be downloaded from Newcastle University's 'e-prints service'.
Current and completed work
Co-Investigator: Synthetic Portabolomics: Leading the way at the crossroads of the Digital and the Bio Economies. EPSRC (£4,267,554.91) May 2016-2021. P.I. Professor Nat Krasnagor. Recently awarded; I am leading the responsible innovation strand of the project.
Co-Investigator: Prof Julian Hughes (PI): Wellcome Trust SEED award: Art, Authenticity and Citizenship in Care Homes. £32,607.75 in collaboration with Helix Arts.
Genomics England Clinical Interpretation Partnership (Ethics) Domain Leader with Dr Pauline McCormack. Leading a multi-centre collaboration to explore the experience of patient public participation in the UK 100,000 Genomes Project.
- Co-Investigator RD- Connect: 2012-18 E.U. FP7 (€12m). Co-Ordinator: Professor Hanns Lochmüller (Institute of Genetic Medicine Newcastle). The project is developing an integrated platform connecting databases, registries, biobanks and clinical bioinformatics for international rare disease research. The substantial ethics work-package is a necessary and major component. I have responsibility for management of an R.A. and to lead work to ensure that patient perspectives are recognised and integrated into project policies and to lead research on the issues of consent and confidentiality in the context of biomedical “Big Data”. In addition I am a member of the International Project Ethics Council (which supports two related EU genomics projects).
- Social Media Analysis for Social Geography: SOMAG is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded interdisciplinary project. Geographers, urbanists and computer scientists are collaborating to understand how people use social media to overcome barriers to inclusive local communities, such as civic disengagement and social apathy. My role is as an ethics advisor to the research team.
- SYBIL: 2013 - EU FP7. (€12m) (Systems biology for the functional validation of genetic determinants of skeletal diseases) Co-Ordinator Professor Mike Briggs (IGM Newcastle).The European Commission has awarded over to this five year project involving 18 partners across Europe, which hopes to make breakthroughs in the treatment of these diseases, which affect tens of thousands of people in the UK and across Europe. My role is to support the project as a research ethics expert and as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee with responsibility for ethics advice.
Research: Completed Projects
- Co-Invesitgator BIO-NMD: 2009-2012 EU FP6: Co-ordinator Prof. Alessandra Ferlini at Ferara University Italy. Overall goal of project to develop biomarkers for rare disease with a view to clinical application in diagnosis and treatment. In collaboration with Professor Volker Straub (Newcastle Muscle Centre). My role, management of an R.A. scoping the social and ethical issues of the project and in addition as Chair of the Project Ethics Board.
- Co-Investigator - TREAT-NMD: 2007 – 2011 EU FP6 Network of Excellence: (€12m) Co-ordinators Professors Volker Stroub and Kate Bushby. An international initiative bringing together some of the world's leading neuromuscular and aimed at improving treatment and finding cures for patients with neuromuscular disorders. Linking 21 partner organisations and over 300 doctors, researchers and other professionals throughout 11 European countries. My role as work-package leader included managing and R.A. and responsible for the ethics work-package exploring the social and ethical aspects of researching with vulnerable groups, early clinical trials with children, stem-cell and gene-therapies, regulatory and ethical challenges, patient and public communication. In addition I established and chaired the Project Ethics Council, a high level advisory group comprised of international expertise and patient representatives. TREAT-NMD has continued as an international alliance in which I have remained active as a member of the Ethics Council and as an Oversight Committee Member to the TREAT-NMD Global Patient Registry– responsible for ethics and governance of an international patient data-base.
- Co-Investigator - SmartHealth: 2006-2010 FP6 Integrated Project. (€8m) Co-ordinator Professor Calum McNeil (FMS). The SmartHEALTH Integrated Project aimed to develop and deliver the next generation of smart diagnostic systems utilising nano-biotechnology and remote communication systems. Driven by key applications in cancer diagnostics, SmartHEALTH looked to enable enhanced medical diagnosis. With management responsibility for an R.A. as work-package leader: responsible for the ethics work-package exploring the social and ethical implications of medical-nano-biotechnology applied to rapid diagnostic devices.
- Co-Investigator - DGEMap 2005 – 2008: FP6 Design Study. (€3m) Co-ordinator Professor Susan Lindsay. This project aims to define the organisational structures, ethical framework, and technologies for molecular genetics and informatics necessary for a proposed new centre for research on gene expression in early human development. My work as work-package leader was to take management responsibility for an R.A and plan and oversee an enquiry into the social ethical and regulatory challenges of working with human foetal tissue obtained via legal termination of pregnancy.
- Collaborator - STEMDIAGNOSTICS – FP6. The Development of new Diagnostic Tests, New Tools and Non-Invasive Methods for the Prevention, Early Diagnosis of GVHD. Co-ordinator: Professor Anne Dickenson (ICM Newcastle) I had responsibility for ethics advice and the co-ordination and delivery of international continuing professional development related to research ethics.
- Principle Investigator - Life Knowledge Park (2005-2006) small grant to support Literature review on PGD and sex selection £2,500 (2005 – 2006)
I would be interested in supervising students in any of the following areas: Bioethics (philosophical or empirical) especially in areas related to clinical ethics, end of life issues, genetic technologies, research ethics, especially human tissues, 'Big data', 'lay' use of technologies for health/ enhancement/ aesthetic purposes.
Annie Featherstone (MD)
Rashmi Manning (MD)
Luke Martin (TRF Doctoral Fellow)
Henderson R.A. PhD (Completed 2008) “The problem of consent in paediatric gene-therapy research.” (With Bushby and Shakespeare)
Wienroth M PhD (Completed 2009) “The lowest common denominator? A Newcastle case study on the interdisciplinary nature of nano (bio)technology.” (With Haimes)
Skyrme S (2008-2011) “Research decisions: Living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (With McLaughlin)
National Ethics Advisors' Panel Member, (NHS) Health Research Authority: National Research Ethics Service.
Visiting Scholar Aalborg University Denmark September 2015-January 2016.
IRDiRC – International Rare Diseases Research Consortium ethics working group member.
Chair: International Ethics Council, TREAT-NMD EU FP6 Network of Excellence (2008-2013)
Oversight Committee Member: TREAT-NMD Global Registry. (2008-)
NHS Research Ethics Committee Vice-Chair (Newcastle and North Tyneside 1 2008-2013)
University of Northumbria Research Ethics Committee Lay Member (2003 -2008)
Associate Editor: BMC Medical Ethics
Reviewer for the following Journals: Journal of Medical Ethics, Bioethics, Medicine Philosophy and Healthcare, Sociology, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, Human Fertility.
Oxford University Press
Open University Press
Assessor for National/ International Research Panels:
NSC Northern Ireland
EPSRC Peer Review College Member
I have been invited to give evidence or opinion to consultations organised by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Health Research Authority, European Medicines Agency.
Current and recently taught courses.
GNM8-MSc: Genomic Medicine MSc Programme
N1516-GNM8008: GNM8008: Ethical, Legal and Social Issues in Applied Genomics (15/16)
O1415-MGS8002: MGS8002: Research Skills for Health Care Professionals (14/15)
N1516-MSC8002: MSC8002: Research Skills for Health Care Professionals (E-learning) (15/16)
Q1213-SOC2083: Q1213-Investigating the Body: Sociological Debates about the Social, Legal an
R1112-CMS8007: R1112-Ethical & Social Issues in Medical Genetics
R1112-BIO3015-BIO8011: R1112-Social Impact of Biology
S1011-CMS8007: S1011-Ethical & Social Issues in Medical Genetics
S1011-BIO3015-BIO8011: S1011-Social Impact of Biology
N1516-SOC2056: SOC2056: Sociology of Health and Illness (15/16)
O1415-SOC3090: SOC3090:I nvestigating the Body: Sociological Debates about the Social, Legal and Creative Management of the Human Body (14/15)
N1516-SOC3090: SOC3090: Investigating the Body: Sociological Debates about the Social, Legal and Creative Management of the Human Body (15/16)
CPD Modules and courses
Children's participation in research
Adults Lacking Capacity in Research
Social Care Research involving adults who lack capacity
- Richard S, Finkel RS, Sejersen T, Mercuri E, Bertini E, Chen K, Crawford TO, Dubowitz V, Lemus Mde, Graham R, Davis HurstR, Iannaccone S, Kirschner J, Main M, Mayer O, Mazzone E, Montes J, Muntoni F, Murphy A, QuijanRoy S, Robertson A, Schroth M, Simonds A, Snyder B, Vitale M, Woods S, Qian Y, Wirth B. 218th ENMC International Workshop:: Revisiting the consensus on standards of care in SMA Naarden, The Netherlands, 19–21 February 2016. Neuromuscular Disorders 2017, 27(6), 596-605.
- Woods S. Big Data Governance: Solidarity and the Patient Voice. In: Floridi, L; Mittelstadt, B, ed. The Ethics of Biomedical Big Data. Dordrecht: Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp.221-238.
- Graven V, Woods S, Jacobsen-Hviid M. Hospitalised Palliative Care - from a Philosophy of Care to Rigid Guidelines for Intervention?. Omsorg. Nordisk Tidskrift for Palliativ Medisin 2016, 33(2), 56-62.
- Gainotti S, Turner C, Woods S, Kole A, McCormack P, Lochmüller H, Riess O, Straub V, Posada M, Taruscio D, Mascalzoni D. Improving the informed consent process in international collaborative rare disease research: Effective consent for effective research. European Journal of Human Genetics 2016, 1–7.
- Mascalzoni D, Dove ES, Rubinstein Y, Dawkins HJS, Kole A, McCormack P, Woods S, Riess O, Schaefer F, Lochmuller H, Knoppers BM, Hansson M. International Charter of principles for sharing bio-specimens and data (vol 23, pg 721, 2015). European Journal of Human Genetics 2016, 24(7), 1096-1096.
- Woods S. Involving adults who lack capacity in research: ethical and legal challenges for the pre-hospital and emergency medicine context. Journal of Paramedic Practice 2016, 8(10), 499-505.
- McCormack P, Woods S. New recommendation on biological materials could hamper muscular dystrophy research. PLoS Currents 2016, 8(MuscularDystrophy).
- Hansson MG, Lochmuller H, Riess O, Schaefer F, Orth M, Rubinstein Y, Molster C, Dawkins H, Taruscio D, Posada M, Woods S. The risk of re-identification versus the need to identify individuals in rare disease research. European Journal of Human Genetics 2016, 24(11), 1553-1558.
- Woods S. Holism in Health Care: Patient as Person. In: Schramme, Thomas; Edwards, Steven, ed. Handbook of the Philosophy of Medicine. Dordecht, Netherlands: Springer Netherlands, 2015, pp.1-17.
- Woods S. Why we should save the anthropocentric person . In: Coggon, J; Kushner, T; Holm, S; Chan, S, ed. From Reason to Practice in Bioethics: An anthology dedicated to the work of John Harris. Manchester, UK: Manchester Univerity Press, 2015, pp.102-118.
- Woods S. Death duty - caring for the dead in the context of disaster. New Genetics and Society 2014, 33(3), 333-347.
- Woods S, Hagger LE, McCormack P. Therapeutic Misconception: Hope, Trust and Misconception in Paediatric Research. Health Care Analysis 2014, 22(1), 3-21.
- Woods S, McCormack P. Disputing the ethics of research: the challenge from bioethics and patient activism to the interpretation of the Declaration of Helsinki in clinical trials. Bioethics 2013, 27(5), 243-250.
- Hagger EL, Woods S, ed. Good Death?: Law and Ethics in Practice. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2013.
- McCormack P, Woods S, Aartsma-Rus A, Hagger L, Herczegfalvi A, Heslop E, Irwin J, Kirschner J, Moeschen P, Muntoni F, Ouillade M-C, Rahbek J, Rehmann-Sutter C, Rouault F, Sejersen T, Vroom E, Straub V, Bushby K, Ferlini A. Guidance in social and ethical issues related to clinical, diagnostic care and novel therapies for hereditary neuromuscular rare diseases: "translating" the translational. 2013. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/currents.md.f90b49429fa814bd26c5b22b13d773ec.
- Mascalzoni D, Knoppers BM, Ayme S, Macilotti M, Dawkins H, Woods S, Hansson MG. Rare diseases and now rare data?. NATURE REVIEWS GENETICS 2013, 14(6), 372-372.
- Woods S. Writing on the body: The modern morality of the tattoo. In: Arp, R, ed. Tattoos – Philosophy for Everyone: I Ink, Therefore I Am. Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. In Press.
- Woods S, McCormack P. Ethical issues in bio-marker research. In: TREAT-NMD International. 2011, Geneva, Switzerland: TREAT-NMD.
- McCormack P, Woods S. Ethics at the edge of translation: the work of the TREAT-NMD Project Ethics Council. In: TREAT-NMD International. 2011, Geneva, Switzerland: TREAT-NMD.
- Woods S. Law and Ethics in Intensive Care. Medical Law Review 2011, 19(3), 495-504.
- McCormack P, Woods S. Patient activism and the ethics of clinical trials: a perspective from neuromuscular disorders. In: TREAT-NMD International. 2011, Geneva, Switzerland.
- Aartsma-Rus A, Cosigned by, Furlong P, Vroom E, van Ommen GJ, Niks E, Straathof C, Verschuuren J, Ferlini A, Hagger L, Heslop E, Karcagi V, Kirschner J, McCormack P, Moeschen P, Muntoni F, Ouillade MC, Rahbeck J, Rehmann-Sutter C, Rouault F, Sejersen T, Woods S. The risks of therapeutic misconception and individual patient (n = 1) “trials” in rare diseases such as Duchenne dystrophy. Neuromuscular Disorders 2011, 21(1), 13-15.
- McCormack P, Woods S, Hagger L. The therapeutic misconception, decision making and informed consent: the ethics of trial participation for neuromuscular disorders. Neuromuscular Disorders 2011, 22(2), 191-192.
- McCormack P, Woods S. Ethical issues with the development of personalised medicines for rare, childhood, genetic disease: the case of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In: Is Medical Ethics Really in the Best Interests of the Patient?. 2010, Uppsala, Sweden.
- Woods S, Scully JL, McCormack P, Turkmendag I. Response to report by Nuffield Council on Bioethics, Give and take? Human bodies in medicine and research: consultation summary. London: Nuffield Council on Bioethics, 2010. Available at: http://nuffieldbioethics.org/wp-content/uploads/Simon-Woods-Jackie-Leach-Scully-Pauline-McCormack-and-Ilke-Turkmendag-of-the-Policy-Ethics-and-Life-Sciences-Research-Centre.pdf.
- Muntoni F, Contributors include, Bushby K, Heslop E, McCormack P, Woods S. The development of antisense oligonucleotide therapies for Duchenne muscular dystrophy: Report on a TREAT-NMD workshop hosted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), on September 25th 2009. Neuromuscular Disorders 2010, 20(5), 355-362.
- Woods S. Dignity: yet another look. In: Takala, T; Herrisone-Kelly, P; Holm, S, ed. Cutting through the surface: philosophical approaches to bioethics. Amsterdam and New York: Editions Rodopi B.V, 2009, pp.69-80.
- Woods S. Best Interests: Puzzles and Plausible Solutions at the End of Life. Health Care Analysis 2008, 16(3), 279-287.
- Henderson A, Bushby KMD, Shakespeare TW, Woods S. Consent, Choice and Children in Genetic Research. In: Journal of Medical Genetics: British Human Genetics Conference. 2008, University of York, UK: BMJ Group.
- Henderson RA, Shakespeare TW, Bushby KMD, Woods S. Consent, choice and children in research: Exploring decision making by parents of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy considering participation in genetic research projects. In: Neuromuscular Disorders: 13th International Congress of the World Muscle Society. 2008, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Elsevier Ltd.
- Woods S, Taylor K. Ethical and governance challenges in human fetal tissue research. Clinical Ethics 2008, 3(1), 14-19.
- Woods S. Stem Cell Stories: from bedside to bench. Journal of Medical Ethics 2008, 34(12), 845-848.
- Woods S. Death's dominion: ethics at the end of life. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press, 2007.
- Woods S. Patients' obligations?. In: Ashcroft, R.E.; Dawson, A.; Draper, H.; McMillan, J.R, ed. Principles of health care ethics. Chichester: Wiley, 2007, pp.719-727.
- Woods S. Saving the anthropomorphic person. In: Holm, S.; Takala, T.; Hayry, M, ed. Life of value: John Harris, his arguments, and his critics. 2007.
- Woods S. The bureaucracy of ethics? The ethical challenges of research ethics committees. In: Porz, R.C.; Rehmann-Sutter, C.; Scully, J.L.; Zimmermann-Acklin, M, ed. Gekauftes Gewissen?: zur Rolle der Bioethik in Institutionen. Paderborn: Mentis, 2007.
- Woods S. The social and ethical challenge of body dysmorphia. The Philosopher 2007, LXXXXV(2), 9-12.
- Hagger L, Woods S. Children and research: a risk of double jeopardy?. In: Michael Freeman, ed. Children's health and children's rights. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2006, pp.51-72.
- Hagger L, Woods S. Children and research: a risk of double jeopardy?. The International Journal of Children's Rights 2005, 13(1-2), 51-72.
- Hagger L, Woods S. Law and ethics support for health professionals: an alternative approach. Journal of Medical Ethics 2005, 31(2), 111-111.
- Woods S. Moral progress. In: Hayry, M.; Takala, T.; Herrissone-Kelly, P, ed. Bioethics and social reality. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2005, pp.137-143.
- Woods S. PEALS. International Humanist News 2005, (2005.3), 14-14.
- Woods S. Respect for persons, autonomy and palliative care. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 2005, 8(2), 243-253.
- Woods S. Is terminal sedation compatible with good nursing care at the end of life?. International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2004, 10(5), 244-247.
- Woods S. Terminal sedation: a nursing perspective. In: Torbjörn Tännsjö, ed. Terminal sedation: euthanasia in disguise?. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2004, pp.43-56.
- Woods S, Hagger L, Barrow P. Autonomy and audit: striking the balance. Medical Law International 2003, 6(2), 105-116.
- Woods S. Confidentiality and consent when working with young people. Healthcare Counselling and Psychotherapy Journal 2003, 3(1), 39-41.
- Sandman L, Woods S, ed. God palliativ vård : etiska och filosofiska aspekter. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2003.
- Woods S, Elstein M. Infertility and bioethics. Biological Sciences Review 2003, 16(1), 2-5.
- Sandman L, Woods S. Introduktion. In: Sandman, L.; Woods, S, ed. God palliativ vård: etiska och filosofiska aspekter. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2003, pp.9-27.
- Woods S. Respekt för personer, autonomi och palliativ vård. In: Sandman, L.; Woods, S, ed. God palliativ vård : etiska och filosofiska aspekter. Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2003, pp.99-121.
- Woods S, Elstein M. What is bioethics?. Biological Sciences Review 2003, 40-41.
- Woods S, Elstein M. Care home ethics. In: Humber, J.; Almedar, R, ed. Care of the aged. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 2002, pp.103-128.
- Woods S, Sandman L. Continental philosophy and nursing ethics. In: Tadd, W, ed. Ethics in nursing, education, research and management: perspectives from Europe. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002, pp.14-34.
- Woods S. Respect for autonomy and palliative care. In: Ten Have, H.; Clark, D, ed. The ethics of palliative care. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2002, pp.145-165.
- Moore J, Pender A, Woods S, Sutton R. Ethical dilemmas in anaesthesia: a case study. Clinician in Management 2001, 10(3), 161-169.
- Woods S, Webb P, Clark D. Palliative care in the United Kingdom. In: Ten Have, H.; Janssens, R, ed. Palliative care in Europe. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2001, pp.85-98.
- Woods S. The contribution of nursing to the development palliative care. In: Ten Have, H.; Janssens, R, ed. Palliative care in Europe. Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2001, pp.133-142.
- Woods S. Good life, good death: ethics and axiology. International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2000, 6(4), 160-160.
- Woods S. Persons and personal identity. Nursing Philosophy 2000, 1(2), 169-172.
- Beaver K, Luker K, Woods S. Primary care services received during terminal illness. International Journal of Palliative Nursing 2000, 6(5), 220-227.
- Woods S, Beaver K, Luker K. User’s views of palliative care services: ethical implications. Nursing Ethics 2000, 7(4), 314-326.
- Harris J, Woods S. What are the responsibilities of the individual when participating in medical research?. In: Doyal, L.; Tobias, J, ed. Informed consent in medical research. London: BMJ Books, 2000, pp.286-292.
- Beaver K, Luker K, Woods S. Conducting research with the terminally ill: challenges and considerations. International Journal of Palliative Nursing 1999, 1(5), 13-17.
- Beaver K, Luker K, Woods S. The views of terminally ill people and lay carers on primary care services. International Journal of Palliative Nursing 1999, 5(6), 266-274.
- Woods S. Holism. In: S.D. Edwards, ed. The Philosophy of Nursing. London: Macmillan, 1998, pp.67-88.