Anne-Floor de Kanter

PhD student

Project description

In this project, we will explore the ethical aspects of intelligent, life-like materials, and look into the ethical questions that arise in the fields of biomaterial science, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. To map the field, we will start out with a systematic literature review of the ethical implications of tissue engineering for regenerative purposes that have been described to date. Next, we will have a closer look into the design phase of new biomaterials. The central aim of MDR is ‘regenerating tissue and organ function with intelligent, life-like materials’. We will explore what is meant with such intelligent, life-like materials. What, in other words, is the conceptual implication of ascribing ‘smartness’ to a biomaterial? And what does this imply for the perceived and actual ethical aspects of such materials? Moreover, taking the perspective of philosophy of technology, we will ask how researchers might be steered by the characteristics of the materials with which they work. How could choices in biomaterial design (unintendedly) impact the final clinical product? Our overall method is Ethics Parallel Research, which aims to perform ethics evaluation in parallel with the development of new technologies. Our aim is to ‘think with’ rather than ‘think about’ the development of biomaterials and tissue-engineered products within the MDR, and to do so in close collaboration with the other participants of the consortium.

Keywords: Smart Materials; Tissue Engineering; Ethics Parallel Research; Philosophy of Technology; Bioethics