UNESCO Chair in Bioethics


  • Bioethics and Law Observatory
  • UNESCO Chair in Bioethics
  • University of Barcelona
  • Faculty of Law
  • Ave. Diagonal, 684
  • 08034 Barcelona
  • (+34) 93 403 45 46
  • obd.ub@ub.edu
  • Master in Bioethics and Law
  • (+34) 93 403 45 46
  • master.bd@ub.edu


Founder: Dr. María Casado

Founder of the Bioethics and Law Observatory of the University of Barcelona, director of the research center from its creation in 1995 to 2021. Creator and director of the master’s degree in Bioethics and Law. UNESCO Chair of Bioethics at the University of Barcelona.

Narcís Monturiol Medal for scientific and technological merit for her contribution to bioethics research, from a human rights perspective, and holder of the UNESCO Chair in Bioethics at the University of Barcelona, Dr. Casado created in 1995 the Observatory of Bioethics and Law (OBD). After twenty-five years in operation, the OBD has become a meeting point for researchers and academics interested in the answers given by the law to the questions posed by biotechnology and biomedicine. It houses the Master's Degree in Bioethics and Law, the first master's degree programme teaching bioethics in Spanish from a pluralist, interdisciplinary and secular perspective, in which more than six hundred students have been trained.

Dr Casado's research activity has always been characterised by its high impact on the legal and political reality of Spain: as early as 1996, she promoted the creation of the UB Bioethics Commission, the first university ethics commission in Spain, of which she was the coordinator until 2002. In addition, as the director of the Opinion Group of the Observatory on Bioethics and Law, since 2000 she has led the publication of more than twenty Documents that respond to the need to scientifically analyse the ethical, social and legal implications of science using a multidisciplinary approach. These documents, which  include specific proposals for action in different fields, have covered relevant issues such as the Spanish regulation of abortion (2008), of assisted reproduction (2008), euthanasia and advance directives (2004) or embryonic stem cell research (2001). May of the recommendations included in these documents have served as the basis for the Spanish regulation of these technologies.

An accredited professor of Legal Philosophy, Dr. Casado has published numerous books and articles, such as the acclaimed and reissued "Bioética, Derecho y Sociedad" (Ed. Trota, 1998/2015), or the recent "Manual de Bioética Laica (I): cuestiones clave" (with López Baroni, Ed. UB, 2018). She has also coordinated prestigious publications such as the book "Sobre la Dignidad y los Principios: Análisis de la Declaración Universal de Bioética y Derechos Humanos de la UNESCO" (Ed. Aranzadi, 2009), the Collection of Materials on Bioethics and Law (Ed. Civitas) and the Bioethics Collection (Eds. UB) with quality mention from ANECA. She has directed 30 research projects and is the author of 76 scientific publications.

Founder and director of the Journal of Bioethics and Law since 2004, she is also a member of numerous scientific and editorial committees and coordinates various networks working on Bioethics from a plural and multidisciplinary perspective. Among other, since 2000 she is the principal investigator of the Grup de Recerca Consolidat "Bioètica, Dret i Societat", of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Currently, her research focuses on the implications of the use of disruptive technologies, such as genome publishing, artificial intelligence or nanotechnology in biomedicine, as well as the necessary adaptation of the Oviedo Convention to the new scientific and social reality.


Dr. Maria Casado - mariacasado@ub.edu