BRC Director, Steven J. Bander Professor of Medical Ethics and Professionalism, Professor of Psychology

JAMES DUBOIS is the Director of the Bioethics Research Center, the Steven J. Bander Professor of Medical Ethics and Professionalism, and Professor of Psychology and Brain Sciences, at Washington University School of Medicine. DuBois completed his PhD in philosophy at the International Academy of Philosophy in Liechtenstein and his DSc in psychology at the University of Vienna in Austria, where he focused on cross-cultural moral psychology. He directs the NIH-funded Professionalism and Integrity in Research Program (PI Program), which offers personalized assessments, a group workshop, and post-workshop coaching calls to help researchers operate professionally in today’s complex environments. He is the founding Editor (with Ana Iltis) of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research, published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

His research interests include: empirical research on ethical issues including informed consent, data sharing, organ transplantation, genetic testing, research integrity, and professional misconduct; research ethics in mental health; and assessing ethics education outcomes.


DuBois has served on numerous national committees on organ transplantation, including: the Institute of Medicine’s committee on increasing rates of organ donation; the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation’s Forum on Donation after Cardiac Death; the United Network for Organ Sharing’s Regional Review Board for Livers; and Mid-America Transplant Services’ committee for non-heart-beating organ donation.

In the area of research ethics, he served on a National Institute of Drug Abuse Data Safety Monitoring Board, the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Human Research, and the NIH study section on Social and Ethical Issues in Research. He served for 10 years on university and hospital institutional review boards (IRBs).


  • 2019 American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Foundation John A. Benson Jr., MD Professionalism Article Prize for “The Professionalism and Integrity in Research Program: Description and Preliminary Outcomes,” in Academic Medicine
  • 2015 Installed as the inaugural holder of the Steven J. Bander Professorship for Medical Ethics and Professionalism
  • 2014 Professionalism Article Prize, American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation
  • 2013 Health Improvement Institute’s Annual Innovation Award for Human Research Protections (for P.I. Program)
  • 2012 PROSE Award Honorable Mention for Best New Journal in Medicine and Technology
  • 2010 Society of Research Administrator’s International Rose Award for best publication
  • 2006 Installed as inaugural holder of the Hubert Mäder Chair of Healthcare Ethics
  • 2003 Graduate Student Association award for Teaching Excellence


1R01MD014161         DuBois/Mohan, PI          07/01/2019 – 06/30/2022
Identifying and Exploring Solutions to the Ethical Challenges of ApoL1 Testing of Donors with Recent African Ancestry through Mixed Methods Research with Stakeholders
Blacks in the United States have a higher incidence of end-stage kidney disease than the general population; much, but not all, of this excess risk is attributed to variants in the ApoL1 gene. We will conduct surveys and interviews with individuals who are undergoing ApoL1 testing in the context of a larger organ transplantation research study (APOLLO) in order to explore ethical and social issues. We will work with a diverse panel of stakeholders to establish a consensus on key clinical practices surrounding ApoL1 testing in the context of organ transplantation.
Role: PI (MPI, Contact PI)

1R01AG058254-01A1         DuBois, PI         07/01/2018 – 06/30/2023
Implementing Evidence-based Informed Consent Practices to Address the Risk of Alzheimer’s Dementia and Cognitive Impairment in Clinical Trials
This study focuses on informed consent in clinical trials. We will test ways of getting study coordinators and principal investigators to use best practices for consent. This study will foster ethical research with people who have Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive impairment.
Role: PI

1R01HG009351-01A1         DuBois, PI         07/01/2017 – 06/30/2022
Sharing Qualitative Research Data: Identifying and Addressing Ethical and Practical Barriers
This project will identify and reduce ethical and practical barriers to sharing qualitative research data. It will develop new resources to increase data sharing in an ethical manner, which will improve the quality of research data, facilitate new research in a cost-effective manner, and foster the training of new researchers.
Role: PI


1R01AG043527-01         DuBois, PI         06/01/2013 – 05/31/2018
Preventing Ethical Disasters in the Practice of Medicine, NIH National Institute of Aging
This project will examine 300 cases of wrongdoing in medicine, including fraudulent unnecessary procedures, sexual abuse of patients, and improper prescribing of narcotics to identify predictive factors.

IR-ORI-14-009-018712         DuBois, PI         08/01/2014 – 07/31/2016
The Role of Culture and Experience in the Perception of Research Regulations, Norms and Values, Office of Research Integrity, HHS
With a sample of 200 independent investigators and trainees funded by the NIH (100 foreign-born from Asia and 100 US-born), we will test the hypothesis that perceptions of diverse kinds of rules—regulations, norms of science, and questionable research practices—vary by cultural background and level of experience. We will also examine the impact of the perception of rules on professional decision-making in research, and explore mechanisms that would explain the impact of culture (in terms of values, experience in US, acculturation, personality traits, or exposure to unethical events).


Sisk BA, Mack JW, DuBois, JM. Knowing versus doing: The value of behavioral change models for emotional communication in oncology. Patient Education and Counseling. 2019

DuBois JM, Anderson EE, Chibnall JT, Mozersky JT, Walsh HA. Serious ethical violations in medicine: A statistical and ethical analysis of 280 cases in the United States from 2008–2016. The American Journal of Bioethics. 2019; 19(1), 16-34. doi:10.1080/15265161.2018.1544305

DuBois JM, Walsh HA, Chibnall JT, Anderson EE, Eggers MR, Fowose M, Ziobrowski H. Sexual violation of patients by physicians: A mixed-methods, exploratory analysis of 101 cases. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. 2017

DuBois JM, Strait M, Walsh HA. Is it time to share qualitative research data? Qualitative Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/qup0000076

DuBois JM, Chibnall JT, Tait R, Vander Wal J, Baldwin KA, Antes AL, Mumford M. Professional decision-making in research (PDR) measure: The validity of a new measure. Science and Engineering Ethics. 2016; 22, 391-416.

Dineen KK, DuBois JM. Between a rock and a hard place: Can physicians prescribe opioids to treat pain adequately while avoiding legal sanction? American Journal of Law and Medicine. 2016; 42(1), 7-52.

DuBois JM, Chibnall JT, Anderson EE, Eggers M, Baldwin KA, Vasher M. A mixed-method analysis of reports on 100 cases of improper prescribing of controlled substances. Journal of Drug Issues. 2016; 46(4), 457-472.

DuBois JM, Chibnall JT, Tait RC, Vander Wal JS. Lessons from Researcher Rehab. Nature. 2016; 534, 173-175.

DuBois JM, Hine A, Kennett M, Kostelecky K, Norris J, et al. Anticipating HIV vaccines: Sketching an agenda for public health ethics and policy in the United States. St. Louis University Journal of Health Law and Policy. 2015; 8(2):225-258

DuBois JM, Chibnall JT, Gibbs J. Compliance disengagement in research: Development and validation of a new measure. Science and Engineering Ethics. 2016; 22(4):965-88.

DuBois JM, Antes AL. In Guanine we trust: Genetic testing and the sense of coherence. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics. 2015; 5(3):237-244

Iltis, AS, Misra S, Dunn LB, Brown GK, Campbell A, Earll SA, … DuBois JM. Addressing risks to advance mental health research. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013; 70(12):1363-1371.

DuBois JM, Kraus EM, Mikulec AA, Cruz-Flores S, Bakanas E. A humble task: Restoring virtue in medicine in an age of conflicted interests. Academic Medicine. 2013; 88(7): 924-928.

DuBois JM, et al. Restoring balance: A consensus paper on the protection of ‘vulnerable’ research participants. American Journal of Public Health. 2012; 102(12): 2220-5.

DuBois JM, Waterman A, Iltis A, Anderson J. Is rapid organ recovery a good idea? An exploratory study of the public’s knowledge and attitudes. American Journal of Transplantation. 2009; 9: 2392-2399.

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