Shep Nickel


I am currently a medical student at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. While I have just begun my medical career, I already view my bioethics coursework at UVa as invaluable both as preparation for medical school and for my development as a medical professional. My UVa bioethics classes greatly advanced my confidence and ability to identify, analyze, and articulate arguments. Furthermore, since the medical school curriculum cannot devote substantial time to the study of ethics, I am especially glad that I obtained this important training as an undergraduate. While the ethical issues in medicine will change, my background from UVa will empower me with the knowledge base to engage meaningfully in debates as a physician. I hope to pursue a career that combines direct patient care with public health work. 

graduated in 2004 as a member of the first class of the Human Biology Distinguished Majors Program. The interdisciplinary Human Biology DMP reflected my interest in both science and humanities and allowed me to take numerous bioethics courses. In particular I structured my coursework to study both the scientific, societal, and ethical issues raised by the expanding field of genetics.

My DMP thesis focused on lab work investigating genetic imprinting, but as part of the thesis I also ethically analyzed assisted reproductive technology informed consent in relation to the potential risk of imprinting defects.