Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Kavita R. Dhanwada


Stem cell research has captured the imagination of many in society, and although it holds hope for repairing the human body, curing disease, and alleviating human suffering, the effects of this pioneering technology present profound ethical and legal implications. While a general consensus exists that the use of adult stem cells is ethically and morally just, embryonic stem (ES) cell research has generated significant debate in both the scientific and legal communities. Decades of legislation and policymaking have led to the creation of a set of human subject research principles that are now well recognized and rooted in the inherent worth and dignity of the individual. ES cell research presents a new challenge regarding the moral status of the human embryo that has led to further debate on the scope and application of these principles.

Rapid changes in science and technology, such as the development of ES cell research methods, have created the need for research codes, principles, and laws designed to protect individuals who have increasingly been used as subjects for research in recent years. The use of human subjects for research has also introduced new ethical challenges which these laws attempt to address and have shaped the current legislation for ES cell research as well. Scientists, ethicists, and policymakers currently are engaging in discussions to determine whether the bioethics of ES cell research are consistent with the standard bioethical principles and laws for human subjects and whether legal inconsistencies exist in regards to federal funding for this type of research. It is also important to study state laws to illustrate similarities and differences as well as compare United States laws to the laws of other countries governing ES cell research.

Finally, the use of additional methods of research must be explored that will serve as viable alternatives void of ethical considerations. The most recent ground-breaking technology to be introduced into the stem cell research community is induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell research. iPS cells are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state thus expressing hallmark characteristics of embryonic stem cells. The purpose of this study was to conduct research in order to develop methods to allow for the successful generation of iPS cells useful in clinical settings. In addition, these cells have been further analyzed in order to determine whether they are indistinguishable from embryonic stem cells thereby raising the question as to whether iPS cell research will obviate the need for ES cell research.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to scholarworks@uni.edu and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (99 pages)