Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOTECHNOLOGY
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (32 hours)

A good general knowledge acquired by the media and literary texts.

Final Examination: 

A written multiple choice test in ethics (10/20 questions about the whole course-contents) is eventually submitted. The test shows the reached level of theoretical knowledge, of ethics-applying skills and of other competences in medical humanities. The examination for the historical part will be of oral kind.

Voto Finale

The main course goal is training the students for a sound and coherent ethical and historical reasoning in biomedical contexts of research, practice and work. Skills to be pursued and im-plemented are the following ones: perceiving a moral dilemma; justifying personal evaluations in the light of rules, principles and theories; composing a quarrel and disagreement inside the staff and into our social pluralistic arena; recognizing the historical and cultural dimensions of scientific and technological institutions and practices; learning a language suitable for under-standing, interpreting and commenting (in dialogue) the narrative events of the institutional working life.

Definition of bioethics (history, aims, methods, tools), biological science and research, medical humanities, applied ethics, history of medicine and of technologies. Truth telling. Privacy and confidentiality. Euthanasia and over-treatment. Drug experimentation, codes of ethics and ethics committees. Informed consent. Abortion and status of embryo. Assisted procreation. Cloning and stem cells. Justice and re-sources allocation. Organ transplantation. Definition of death and brain death. Islamic and Jewish patients. Communication inside the staff. Ethics, literature and cinema. Vaccines and public health issues. Burn out in biological personnel: ethics and psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy. Genetic testing and screening. Nursing and ethics at the chair-side. Ethics consultation. Animal rights.Introductory elements of history-of-biotechnology.
Vis a vis lessons/lectures are going to deal with some of these topics and to show the proper learning methodology. Individual ways of further studying and investigating in ethics and history are to be taught and tested in the classroom.

Paolo Cattorini, Bioetica.Metodo ed elementi di base per affrontare problemi clinici, Ed. Elsevier, Milano, 4 ed. , 2011; Paolo Cattorini, Bioetica e cinema, Ed. FrancoAngeli, Milano, 2° ed. 2006; P. Cattorini, La libertà del cervello. Neuroscienze, etica e cinema, Bologna, Dehoniane, 2013;T.L. Beauchamp – J.F. Childress, Princìpi di etica biomedica, Firenze, Le Lettere, 1999 (Principles of Biomedical Ethics, Oxford Univ. Press); P. Dalla Torre, a cura di, Cinema con-temporaneo e questioni bioetiche, Roma, Studium, 2010; S. Shapshay, Ed., Bioethics at the Movies, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2009; G.Boniolo-P.Maugeri, Eds., Etica alle frontiere della biomedicina, Milano, Mondadori, 2014; D. Neri, La bioetica in laboratorio,Roma-Bari, Laterza, 2005. For History: Zanobio-Armocida, Storia della medicina, Milano, Masson, last ed.


By following the introductory exposition by the professor, and by dealing with concrete situational problems, cognitive knowledge, emotional discernment, communicating competence and history/ethics-applying skills are fostered and trained. Theories, principles, ways of reasoning, logical rules, linguistic ambiguities, styles of behaviour and moral questions are presented, commented and analyzed in a pluralistic manner. Relevant key words and issues will be debated and interdisciplinary professional dilemmas will be criticized and evaluated.
Narrative texts, especially motion pictures, will involve the group in the emotional heart of complex cases, outline the social and historical imaginary, help the expression of individual insights and feelings, prepare a mature staff decision.

Email Address:;
Reception Hours: for more information and individual consultation in “Padiglione Antonini”, via Rossi 9, Varese, the student is invited to preliminarily contact the Professor at his email address.