Dr. Françoise Baylis


Françoise Baylis is a philosopher whose innovative work in bioethics, at the intersection of policy and practice, has stretched the very boundaries of the field.  Her work challenges readers to think broadly and deeply about the direction of health, science and biotechnology. It aims to move the limits of mainstream bioethics and develop more effective ways to understand and tackle public policy challenges in Canada and abroad.

A public intellectual for the modern age, Baylis brings her ethical sensibilities, informed by best practices, theory and common sense, to a wide range of public issues. With a personal mantra to make the powerful care, Baylis contributes to national policy-making via government research contracts, membership on international committees and public education, engagement and empowerment. This work – all of which is informed by a strong commitment to the common good – focuses largely on issues of social justice.

Françoise Baylis is Distinguished Research Professor, Emerita, Dalhousie University. She is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades including most recently the 2022 Killam Prize (Humanities). Baylis is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Nova Scotia, as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. 

Select Recent Publications

Baylis, F. (2023) Heritable human genome editing is 'currently not permitted', but it is no longer 'prohibited': So says the ISSCR Journal of Medical Ethics 49:319–321. Online 4 October 2021.

Manca, T., Baylis, F., Munoz, F.M., & Top, K.A. (2022). Prioritise Research on Vaccines for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women The Lancet, 399 (10328): 890-893.

Baylis, F., Darnovsky, M., Hasson, K., & Krahn, T. (2020) Human germline and heritable genome editing: The global policy landscape.  The CRISPR Journal 3(5): 365-377.

Kofler, N. & Baylis, F. (2020). Ten reasons why immunity passports are a bad idea. Nature 581:379-381.

Baylis, F., & Kofler, N (2020), April 29) COVID-19 immunity testing: A passport to inequity. Issues in Science and Technology.

Andorno, R., Baylis, F., Darnovsky, M., Dickenson, D., Haker, H., Hasson, K. (2020).
Geneva statement on heritable human genome editing: The need for course correctionTrends in Biotechnology, 38(4), 351-354.

Baylis, F. (2019). Altered inheritance: CRISPR and the ethics of human genome editing. Harvard: Harvard University Press.



Select Conference Videos

The Lady Vanishes: Redux (h/t Donna Dickenson). The Perfect Baby?: The Dangers of Gene Editing in Assisted Reproduction, [Online] 9 August 2022 (at 10:44).

Heritable Human Genome Editing: Science, Ethics and the Art of Policymaking (1 June 2021). Plenary lecture by Francoise Baylis. CRISPR 2021. [On-line]

Heritable Human Genome Editing: Ethics & Governance. Women in Science and Engineering, Toronto, Ontario (26 January 2020) Plenary lecture by Francoise Baylis. WISE National Conference 2020

Is human genome editing ethical? (15 Oct 2019). Plenary lecture by Françoise Baylis. American Society for Reproductive Medicine Annual Scientific Congress & Expo, Philadelphia PA.

Genealogy & Genetics workshop, part 7 of 8: Ethics of bio-data & genetic genealogy. (21 Sep 2018). A presentation by Françoise Baylis. Organized by Julia Creet. Archives of Ontario, 134 Ian MacDonald Blvd, North York, York University Keele Campus, Toronto ON.

Select Public Speaking Videos

Vaccine Diplomacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic (12 April 2021). Panel including Francoise Baylis, WHO Epidemic Ethics webinar. [on-line]

Designer Babies: All You ever Wanted to Know (and More), (10 February 2021) A presentation by Francoise Baylis. Wayne Morse Chair for Law and Politics. [On-line]

Editing the human genome: the ethics of moulding our future. (14 Mar 2018). A panel discussion featuring Françoise Baylis, Julian Savalescu and David Edgell as moderated by Anthony Skelton. Wolf Performance Hall – Central Library, London ON.

Synthetic biology: blurring boundaries to create new realities. (16 Sept 2017). me Convention talks, Frankfurt Festhalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

Breaking the wall between gene science and ethics: How philosophy can provide frameworks for a global biotech revolution. (9 Nov 2016). Falling Walls Conference, Berlin, Germany.

Conversations with my mother. (20 Oct 2016). The Walrus Talks – The Art of Conversation, Eckhardt-Gramatté Hall, Rozsa Centre, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB.

Select Interviews (Podcasts, Radio, TV & Video)

S3-E1: Dr. Françoise Baylis – The Ethical Implications of CRISPR and Beyond MindUnplugged Show with Dragos Radu, April 1, 2023

Episode 040: Françoise Baylis: Philosophy Bioethics Podcast or Perish, October 3, 2022

#199 Should We Use Gene Editing to Make Better Babies? Intelligence Squared US, 18 February 2022

The Promise (and Potential Problems) of Genetic Engineering. With Françoise Baylis TOA On Air, December 7, 2021

Bioethics on Health and Novel Human Genetic Technologies – A Detailed Conversation with Françoise Baylis Finding Genius Podcast. June 27, 2021

Should we adopt vaccine certification programs? (April 27 2021) Open to Debate with David Moscrop Canada 2020

#178 Germline ethics. (13 Feb 2020). Host: Nicolas Terry. The Week in Health Law with Nicolas Terry (publication date: 16 Mar 2020).

Gene editing, slow science and public engagement. (18 Dec 2019). Host: Alex Woodson. Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

Bioethicist warns against using gene-editing technology to solve social problems. (24 Oct 2019). Host: Laura Lynch. CBC Radio (The Current).