Prof. Dr. med. Christiane Woopen

Hertz Professor for Life Ethics, Bonn University

Research Professor in the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Individuals, Institutions and Societies" at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.

Director of the Center for Life Ethics and the "Haus für junges Denken".

Research activities

Where are current changes leading us? What values should guide us in shaping our lives?

What is alive, changes. This applies to individual life as well as to social, economic and cultural life and the natural environment. Christiane Woopen explores with her team at the Center for Life Ethics four systemically interacting dynamics that are particularly shaping individual and societal lives of our time: the technologization, economization, ecologization and globalization as well as the transformation processes associated with them. Where are they leading us? What ethical attitudes and goals shape theses dynamics, and how can we shape them so that they serve the unfolding of lives?

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Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen

Hertz Professor for Life Ethics, Bonn University

Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 7

53113 Bonn Center for Life Ethics, Haus für junges Denken

Curriculum vitae

Christiane Woopen studied human medicine and philosophy in Cologne, Bonn and Hagen. Before moving to the University of Bonn, she was executive director of the interfaculty Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics and Social Sciences of Health (ceres), professor of ethics and theory of medicine, and head of the Ethics Research Unit at the University of Cologne. In recent years, she has been a member of numerous national and international expert groups, most recently as chair of the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, which advises the European Commission, chair of the German Ethics Council, president of the 11th Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees, member of the International Bioethics Committee of UNESCO, and co-spokesperson of the Data Ethics Commission of the German government. Woopen is a member of Academia Europaea, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

  • Since 10/2012:

    Professorship "Life Ethics - Individuals, Institutions and Societies" in the transdisciplinary research area 4, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
    Founding Director and Executive Director of the "Center for Life Ethics" and the "Haus für junges Denken".

  • 2013 - 2021: Founding director and executive director of the Cologne Center for Ethics, Rights, Economics, and Social Sciences of Health (ceres), University of Cologne

  • 2011 - 2019: Vice Dean for Academic Development and Gender at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Cologne

  • 2009 - 2021: Head of the Ethics Research Unit at the Institute for History and Ethics of Medicine, University of Cologne

  • 8/2009: Appointment as Professor of Ethics and Theory of Medicine at the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne

  • 1998 - 2009: research associate at the Institute for Science and Ethics, Bonn, Department of Biomedical Ethics (Director: Prof. Dr. L. Honnefelder)

  • 1992 - 1993: research associate at the Philosophy Department of the University of Bonn

  • 1991 - 1994: freelancer for the Cusanuswerk e.V.

  • 1989 - 1991: internship, then assistant physician in the gynecological-obstetrics department of the Evangelical Hospital Weyertal, Cologne (Prof. Dr. F. Paulußen)


  • Dynamics of Individual Social Life: Technologization, Economization, Ecologization and Globalization
  • Participatory research on the ethical shaping of futures


  • Wilhelm Weber Prize (2022) Award for personalities who have rendered outstanding services to Christian social teaching.
  • Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class (2018)
  • 1/2005: Habilitation and award of the venia legendi for the subject Ethics and Theory of Medicine by the Medical Faculty of the University of Cologne.
  • 7/1993: Doctorate (Dr. med.) at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn
  • 1990 - 1995: Study of philosophy at the Universities of Bonn and Hagen
  • 1982 - 1988: Study of human medicine at the University of Cologne
  • Baumeister, A., Schwegler, C., Woopen, C. (Hg.) Facetten von Gesundheitskompetenz in einer Gesellschaft der Vielfalt. Schriften zu Gesundheit und Gesellschaft - Studies on Health and Society, 6. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg 2023.
  • Schmutzler R, K, Schmitz-Luhn B, Borisch B, Devilee P, Eccles D, Hall P, Balmaña J, Boccia S, Dabrock P, Emons G, Gaissmaier W, Gronwald J, Houwaart S, Huster S, Kast K, Katalinic A, Linn S, C, Moorthie S, Pharoah P, Rhiem K, Spranger T, Stoppa-Lyonnet D, van Delden J, J, M, van den Bulcke M, Woopen C. Risk-Adjusted Cancer Screening and Prevention (RiskAP): Complementing Screening for Early Disease Detection by a Learning Screening Based on Risk Factors. Breast Care 2022;17: 208-223. doi: 10.1159/000517182
  • Berghold A, Hübner C, Schmitz-Luhn B, Woopen C. Tech-Giganten im Gesundheitswesen. Stand der Aktivitäten, rechtliche und ethische Implikationen. Gütersloh; 2022.
  • Baumeister A, Chakraverty D, Aldin A, Seven ÜS, Skoetz N, Kalbe E, Woopen C. "The system has to be health literate, too" - perspectives among healthcare professionals on health literacy in transcultural treatment settings.BMC Health Serv Res. 2021 Jul 21;21(1):716. doi: 10.1186/s12913-021-06614-x
  • Skegg D, Gluckman P, Boulton G, Hackmann H, Karim SSA, Piot P, Woopen C., Future scenarios for the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet. 2021 Feb 27;397(10276):777-778. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00424-4. Epub 2021 Feb 16.
  • Mantell PK, Baumeister A, Ruhrmann S, Janhsen A, Woopen C., Attitudes towards Risk Prediction in a Help Seeking Population of Early Detection Centers for Mental Disorders-A Qualitative Approach. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 25;18(3):1036. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18031036
  • .Rostamzadeh A, Schwegler C, Gil-Navarro S, Rosende-Roca M, Romotzky V, OrtegaG, Canabate P, Moreno M, Schmitz-Luhn B, Boada M, Jessen F, Woopen C., Biomarker-Based Risk Prediction of Alzheimer's Disease Dementia in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Psychosocial, Ethical, and Legal Aspects. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;80(2):601-617. doi: 10.3233/JAD-200484
  • Weyersberg, A.; Roth, B.; Köstler, U.; Woopen, C.: Pädiatrie - Gefangen zwischen Ethik und Ökonomie. Dtsch Ärztebl 2019; 166 (37): A 1586-91.
  • Woopen, C., Ethics in and for Biopolitics. In: (Bio)Ethics, Science and Society: Challenges for BioPolitics. Editor: Maria do Céu Patrào Neves. Fundaçao Luso-Americana, Lisbon 2019. p. 195-203.
  • Hurlbut JB, Jasanoff S, Saha K, Ahmed A, Appiah A, Bartholet E, Baylis F, Bennett G, Church G, Cohen IG, Daley G, Finneran K, Hurlbut W, Jaenisch R, Lwoff L, Kimes JP, Mills P, Moses J, Park BS, Parens E, Salzman R, Saxena A, Simmet H, Simoncelli T, Snead OC, Rajan KS, Truog RD, Williams P, Woopen C. Building Capacity for a Global Genome Editing Observatory: Conceptual Challenges.Trends Biotechnol. 2018 Jul; 36(7):639-641. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2018.04.009 . Epub 2018 Jun 2.

Projects/Third-party funding

Duration: since 1/2022

Project Management:

  • Prof. Dr. Eva Meisenzahl
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen (Project Leader Subproject Ethics)

Third-party funding: G-BA Innovation Fund

Duration: since 7/2021

Project Management:

  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen
  • RA Dr. Björn Schmitz-Luhn

Third-party funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Network of European Funding for Neuroscience Research

Duration: since 10/2021

Project Management:

  • Prof. Dr. Tobias Keber (Project Manager ELSI-SAT, HdM Stuttgart)
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen (Project Manager Subproject Ethics)

Third-party funding: Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Website of the joint project:

Duration: since 7/2020

Project Management:

  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Woopen (Project Manager Subproject Ethics)
  • Third-party funding: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Website of the project:

Committees (selection)

  • German Ethics Council (vice chair 2008-2012, chair 2012-2016)
  • National Ethics Council (2001-2005, 2005-2008)
  • Member (since 2023)
  • Co-spokesperson (2018-2019)
  • Hightech Forum of the Hightech Strategy 2025 (2018-2021)
  • International Scientific Advisory Board of the Medical Informatics Initiative (since 2018)
  • Program Council of Futurium gGmbh
  • Expert Council Corona of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (2020-2021)
  • Board of Trustees of the Alfred Herrhausen Society (since 2020)
  • Supervisory Board Agaplesion gAG (since 2018)
  • Data Privacy Advisory Board of Deutsche Telekom (since 2018)
  • Scientific Advisory Board of Stiftung Gesundheitswissen (since 2017)
  • Scientific advisory board of Techniker Krankenkasse (since 2017)
  • Board of Trustees of the European Aachen Cathedral Foundation (since 2017)
  • Caritas Council of the Caritasverband für die Stadt Köln e.V. (since 2014)
  • Advisory Board of the Global Observatory for Genome Editing (since 2021)
  • External Advisory Board of PEriTiA: Policy, Expertise and Trust in Action. H2020 Project (since 2019)
  • Chair of the European Ethics Council (European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, EGE) (2017-2021)
  • Workgroup „Truth, Trust and Expertise“, ALLEA (All European Academies) (2017-2019)
  • President of the 11th Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees (2014-2016)
  • International Bioethics Committee of the UNESCO (2010-2017)

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