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Professor, Social Medicine

PhD, Anthropology, UCLA, 2002
MA, Anthropology, UCLA, 1998

Jean Cadigan is Professor of Social Medicine and a core faculty member in the Center for Bioethics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She received her PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She then completed postdoctoral appointments in medical anthropology and human development, with particular training in conducting mixed methods studies.  Her teaching and research interests focus broadly on clinical and research ethics.

Dr. Cadigan studies the ethical, legal, and social implications of translating genomic research into clinical care. She has designed and conducted multimethod projects involving surveys and interviews with participants and investigators of genetic research studies about issues such as return of individual research results, ownership of biospecimens, and biobanking.  With Eric Juengst, she currently leads a study on ethical and governance challenges of human genome editing research (more information is available here). Additionally, she is the co-PI of a multisite study investigating the ethical, legal, and social issues associated with the use of polygenic scores for social and behavioral traits (see more here). She has also conducted studies on educating medical trainees in clinical ethics.

Within UNC, Dr. Cadigan is involved in teaching and research initiatives with the School of Medicine’s Program for Precision Medicine in Health Care. She also serves on the steering committee for the Center for Genomics and Society and is a member of the Hospital Ethics Committee. Finally, she is a consultant for both the Clinical Ethics Consultation Service and the Research Ethics Consultation Service.


Jean Cadigan, PhD