You are here

Virginia Sanchini

Academic Year: 
2016
Year of Study: 
Archive
Curricula: 
Foundations of the Life Sciences, Bioethics and Cognitive Sciences
Research Center Affiliation: 
European Institute of Oncology (IEO)
THESIS TITLE: 
Facilitate deliberation. Towards a redefinition of the bioethical expert in the public arena
Thesis Abstract: 

In an increasingly specialized world, where the production of knowledge and its acquisition have become a collective enterprise, nobody can master all the fields alone. This has led to the proliferation of a myriad of experts, each of whom is specialized in a precise domain or subdomain. Given this picture, it is not surprising that people with training in bioethics are often referred to as ‘bioethics experts’ and/or ‘bioethical experts’. However, far from being confined to a specific social dimension, in today’s society bioethicists are a commonplace presence in an ever-increasing range of domains. In recognition of this phenomenon, the aim of this thesis is to explore the so-called issue of bioethical expertise. This means first and foremost exploring two main questions: whether an expertise in the field of bioethics might actually exist and what are, if any, the skills that the bioethical expert is endowed with, in order to understand whether this figure is on a par with professionals of other disciplines. After presenting a general review of the current literature on this issue and briefly indicating the different research paths this research topic might lead to, the focus will be narrowed to dwell on the main research questions this work aims to address: is there a legitimate role for the bioethical expert within the public arena, and, if so, what is this role? Far from being a straightforward question, this issue is further complicated by a vast literature decrying the threat posed by bioethicists with respect to the broader context in which they operate: liberal democracies. In taking these considerations seriously, this dissertation aims to ‘solve the paradox’ connected with the figure of bioethical expert and to propose a normative model of bioethical expert compatible with the tenets of (deliberative) democratic western democracies and, in particular, their public decision-making processes. This figure will be defined here as the facilitator of deliberation, thus recognizing the debt it has towards the political theories of deliberative democracy.

This work is structured as follows: first of all the theoretical current debate concerning the topic of bioethical expertise is presented. Secondly, by narrowing the focus of investigation I concentrate on the domain in which the bioethical expert proposed here has to operate: public bioethics. The normative proposal of bioethical expert as facilitator of deliberation is then presented, remodelling the former in relation to the already existing figures occupying the public arena. Finally, the results of a preliminary experiment, designed to empirically explore this new figure, will be presented and discussed.

Area of Specialization:
Bioethics, Moral Philosophy, Medical Ethics

Prior Education:

2011 M.A. in Philosophy of Mind, of Person, of Town and of History, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele (Milan, Italy)

2009 BA. in Philosophy, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele (Milan, Italy)

Lab experience:

December 2012 - March 2013. Rescigno Lab: Immunobiology of Dendritic Cells and Immunotherapy. In particular, under the supervision of Ilaria Spadoni (Ph.D. Student in Rescigno group): helping in basic lab activities such as DNA extraction, PCR, immunofluorescence.

July - November 2012. Nicolai Sidenius Lab: Identification of the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction induced by cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix. In particular, under the supervision of Gian Maria Sarra Ferraris (Post Doc in Sidenius group): Analysis of Kindlin role on cell morphology and talin cleavage to verify the hypothesis of symmetry between the cytoplasm and the extracellular environment.

January - May 2012. Paolo Di Fiore Lab: basic and translational cancer research in the fields of endocytosis, stem cells and functional genomics. In particular, under the supervision of Nina Offenhäuser and her group: training in basic lab procedures such as PCR, cell cleaning, immunofluorescence.

Publications:

2016 Boniolo G. - Sanchini V. (eds), Ethical counseling and medical decision-making in the era of personalized medicine. A guide, Heidelberg: Springer, forthcoming.

2015 Sanchini V., Bioethical Expertise: mapping the field. Biblioteca della libertà, Anno L numero 213 online, maggio-agosto 2015, ISSN 2035-5866.

2015 Sanchini V., Bonizzi G., Monturano M., Pece S., Viale G., Di Fiore P.P., Boniolo G., A trusted-based pact in research biobanks. From theory to practice. Bioethics. Online first.

2015 Linkeviciute A., Peccatori F.A., Sanchini V., Boniolo G., Oocyte cryopreservation beyond cancer: tools for ethical reflection. J Assist Reprod Genet. Online first.

2014  Sanchini V., Nardini C., Boniolo G., The withholding/withdrawing distinction in the end of life debate, Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine, 9:13.

2014 Sanchini V., Reni M. Calori G., Riva E., Reichlin M., Informed consent as an ethical requirement in clinical trials: an old, but still unresolved issue. An observational study to evaluate patient’s informed consent comprehension, The Journal of Medical Ethics, 40:269-275

2014 Boniolo G., Sanchini V., “Un’introduzione storico-metodologica”, in “Etica alle frontiere della biomedicina. Per una cittadinanza consapevole” [Ethics at the frontiers of biomedicine. Towards a responsible citizenry], Mondadori Università, Milano, pp. 13-33.

2014  Chiapperino L., Sanchini V., “Questioni etiche dei test genetici: tra privacy e diritto di non sapere”, in “Etica alle frontiere della biomedicina” [Ethics at the frontiers of biomedicine. Towards a responsible citizenry], Mondadori Università, Milano, pp. 155-174.

2013  Annoni M., Sanchini V., Nardini C., The Ethics of Non-Inferiority Trials, Research Ethics 9 (3):109-120.

2013 Sanchini V., Not Kant vs. Scheler, but either Kant or Scheler. From construction to foundation of ethics, Phenomenology and Mind, vol 5: 142-151.

2012  Sanchini V., Hans Jonas e il principio responsabilità, Aggiornamenti Sociali (4), pp. 350-354, Milano, Aprile 2012.

Teaching experiences:

2015  Teaching Assistant at University of Milan, Interfaculty of Cognitive Science, course of Clinical Ethics. [January 2015 – March 2015]

2014    Guest lecture, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Medicine: “Bioethics as a discipline: an historical and methodological introduction to bioethics”. [16th April 2014]

2014  Guest lecture, University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Medicine: “Decision-making models in contemporary bioethics”. [7th May 2014]      

2014   Teaching Assistant at University of Milan, Interfaculty of Cognitive Science, course of Clinical Ethics. Lectures on: “The methods of applied ethics”; “Ethical issues of genetic testing: from the right not to know to the duty to inform”; “Genetic testing and reproductive choices”; “Genetics and eugenics”; “Therapy and enhancement”; “Clinical Trials”; “Stem cells and research”. [January 2014 – March 2014]

2013   Guest lecture, University of Milan, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine: “Bioethics as a discipline: an historical and methodological introduction to bioethics”. [15th March 2013]

2013    Teaching Assistant at University of Milan, Interfaculty of Cognitive Science, course of Clinical Ethics. [January 2013 – March 2013]

2012 – Today High School Teacher of Bioethics at Liceo Classico San Raffaele in Milan

Other experiences:

Reviewer of: The New England Journal of Medicine; The Journal of Medical Ethics; The International Journal of Health Policy and Management.

Editor of the Fondazione Giannino Bassetti, Milan (Italy).

Junior Member of ABCD (The Italian Association of Cell Biology and Differentiation).

Representative of the Bioethics area of the Center for Public Ethics Studies (CeSEP), Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

Scientific Secretariat of the Master in Ethical Counselling in Oncology – European School of oncology; European School of Molecular Medicine.

Poster and presentations:

2015    Guest speaker at the Conference “HandsOn: Biobanks 2015 (HOBB 2015)” (Università degli Studi Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy) with a talk entitled “Trusted consent: a model from research to practice”. [31th July 2015]

2015   Guest speaker at a conference about the ethical issues arising from genetic testing. Science and Technology Museum, Milan, Italy. [24th March 2015]

2015   Guest speaker at a Master in Clinical Methodology and Biostatistics applied to Clinical Trials at the University of Camerino (Italy), with the following talks: “Ethics Committees: composition, role and responsibilities”; “Ethics Committees in the promotion of public health”; “The no-profit experimentation”. [13th February 2015]

2014   Guest moderator of the bioethics’ workshop “Therapy and enhancement. From neurosciences to the future of human nature” organized by CeSEP (Center for Public Health Studies), University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Philosophy (Milan, Italy). [19th January 2014]              

2014   Guest lecturer at the Master in Ethical Counselling in Oncology – sponsored by the European School of Oncology (ESO) and the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM) in Milan (Italy) on the following topics: Bioethics: approaches and principles; Bioethics: dilemmas and disagreements. [27th – 29th October 2014]

2014   Abstract presentation (with G. Boniolo) at the conference “Bioethics in oncology”, entitled “Ethical counseling in the oncological wards: two methods, one root” (Salón de Actos del H. General, H. Universitario La Paz, Madrid, Spain). [10th September 2014]

2014   Round table presentation at the 4th Annual Conference on Telemedicine, organized by the Italian Society of Telemedicine (SIT) on the ethical issues related to telemedicine in life sciences (in Milan, Italy). [2th July 2014]

2014   Paper presentation (with A. Blasimme) at the EBEN Annual Conference (June 12th - 14th, Berlin, Germany), entitled “Responsible Innovation: the Translational Turn and the Ethics of Clinical Risk”. [14th June 2014]

2014   Invited moderator of the bioethics’ workshop “The Stamina Case: is it liberty of care?” organized by CeSEP (Centro di Studi di Etica Pubblica), University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Faculty of Philosophy (Milan, Italy). [22th January 2014]

2013   Invited speaker at the Conference “Genetica e medicina predittiva. Dagli aspetti etico-scientifici alla prevenzione” (In Naples, Italy) with a talk entitled “Questioni etiche dei test genetici: tra diritto di non sapere e dovere di informare” (“Ethical issues of genetic testing: from the right not to know to the duty to inform”). [29th October 2013]

2013   Poster presentation at the ABCD (Italian Association of Cell Biology and Differentiation) International Conference (12-14 September in Ravenna, Italy) entitled “A trusted-based pact in research biobanks. From theory to practice”. [13th September 2013]

2013   Abstract presentation at the 27th European Conference on Philosophy on Medicine and Healthcare (14-17 August 2013, Basel, Switzerland), entitled “How to decide who decides? From the investigation of the existence of bioethical expertise to its authority in public decision-making”. [17th August 2013]

Affiliations and Awards:

Reviewer of: The New England Journal of Medicine; The Journal of Medical Ethics; The International Journal of Health Policy and Management.

Editor of the Fondazione Giannino Bassetti, Milan (Italy).

Junior Member of ABCD (The Italian Association of Cell Biology and Differentiation).

Representative of the Bioethics area of the Center for Public Ethics Studies (CeSEP), Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.

Scientific Secretariat of the Master in Ethical Counselling in Oncology – European School of oncology; European School of Molecular Medicine.

2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 Fondazione Umberto Veronesi Scholarship.