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Michelle Meyer
Assistant Professor
Associate Director, Research Ethics
Center for Translational Bioethics and Health Care Policy
100 North Academy Avenue
Danville, PA 17822
Phone: 571-214-3380

Michelle N. Meyer, PhD, JD

Research Interests

Michelle N. Meyer is an Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Research Ethics, in Geisinger’s Center for Translational Bioethics and Health Care Policy. She chairs the IRB Leadership Committee and directs the Research Ethics Advice and Consulting Service and the Meyer Lab, which uses experimental and other methods to empirically investigate ethical, legal, and social aspects of science and health care.

Dr. Meyer’s research interests focus on the legal, bioethical, and policy issues that arise in the conduct of research and other learning activities (e.g., QA/QI). In particular, she has written and spoken about learning healthcare systems and the ethical imperative to study the consequences of policies and practices; the role of IRBs and alternative bodies and processes for overseeing research and other learning activities; informed consent effectiveness in research (and in clinical contexts); data privacy and data sharing; responsible science communication; and reproducibility in science.

She is also interested in genetics/genomics, where she has written about return of results, genetic privacy and property, genetic discrimination, the ethics of behavioral genetics research, and “reprogenethics” (e.g., prenatal testing, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, genetic modification). In addition to reprogenethics, she is also interested in abortion law and in the legal and ethical issues that arise when a living pregnant woman is not present during reproduction (for instance, disputes over control of frozen embryos and over posthumous pregnancy).

Finally, Dr. Meyer is broadly interested in the implications of behavioral science for law, bioethics, and policy. For example, she studies ways in which status quo and other biases by providers, administrators, and patients may constitute an obstacle to implementing a learning healthcare system.

Dr. Meyer currently sits on the American Psychological Association (APA)’s Commission on Ethics Processes, the Board of Directors of Open Humans Foundation (formerly, a nonprofit organization that has developed novel ways of managing the ethical, legal, and technical aspects of creating open access repositories of highly identifiable human genomic data like the Personal Genome Project; and the Advisory Board of the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium, which conducts large GWAS of social science traits like educational attainment and subjective wellbeing. 

Immediately before joining the faculty at Geisinger, she was an Assistant Professor and Director of Bioethics Policy in the Clarkson University–Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Bioethics Program and Adjunct Faculty at Albany Law School. Dr. Meyer earned a Ph.D. in religious studies, with a focus on applied ethics, from the University of Virginia under the supervision of James F. Childress and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she was an editor of the Harvard Law Review and a founding co-editor of the Harvard Law Review Forum. Following law school, she clerked for Judge Stanley Marcus of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She graduated summa cum laude from Dartmouth College, where she studied religious studies, philosophy, and creative nonfiction. 

Recent Publications

  • Meyer MN. (2016, Spring). Pregnancy exclusions, posthumous pregnancy, and the constitution. Lahey Health J Med Ethics, 6-7.
  • Meyer MN. (2015, December 31). No, donating your leftover tissue for research is not like letting someone rifle through your phone. Full Text
  • Meyer MN, Chabris CF. (2015, June 21). Please, corporations, experiment on us. New York Times. p. SR9. Full Text
  • Meyer MN. (2015, Spring). Two cheers for corporate experimentation: the A/B illusion and the virtues of data-driven innovation. Colo Tech Law J, 13(2), 273-331. Full Text
  • Meyer MN, Lantos, J, London AJ, McGuire AL, Schuklenk U, Stell L. (2014, July). Misjudgements will drive social trials underground. Nature, 511(July 17), 265. Full Text
  • Meyer MN, Chabris CF. (2014, July 31). Why psychologists' food fight matters. Slate. Full Text
  • Meyer MN. (2014, June 30). Everything you need to know about Facebook's controversial emotion experiment. Wired. Full Text
  • Meyer MN. (2014). Three challenges for risk-proportionate (research) regulation: heterogeneity Among Regulated Entities, Regulator Bias, and Stakeholder Heterogeneity In I. G. Cohen & H. Fernandez Lynch (Eds.), The future of human subjects research regulation (pp. 313-326). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Full Text | Publisher Link
  • Meyer MN, Chabris CF. (2013, September 29). Government: when push comes to nudge. Los Angeles Times. Full Text
  • Meyer MN. (2013, Spring). Regulating the production of knowledge: research risk-benefit analysis and the heterogeneity problem. Admin Law Rev, 65(2), 237-299. Full Text
  • Meyer MN. (2013, March–April). From evidence-based medicine to evidence-based practice. Hastings Center Report, 43(2), 11-12. Full Text | Journal Link
  • Meyer MN. (2011, April). The subject-researcher relationship: in defense of contracting around default rules. Am J Bioethics, 11(4), 27-30. Full Text | Journal Link
  • Meyer MN. (2010, September-October). Against one-size-fits-all research ethics, 40 Hastings Center Report, 40(5), 10-11. Full Text | Journal Link
  • Meyer MN, Fossett JF. (2009, September). The more things change: the new NIH guidelines on human stem cell research. Kennedy Inst Ethics J, 19(3), 289-307. Journal Link


JD Harvard Law School
PhD Religious Studies (focus: applied ethics), University of Virginia
AB Dartmouth College, Religious Studies (minor, Moral Philosophy)
Academic Fellowship, Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics, Harvard Law School
Greenwall Fellowship, Bioethics and Health Policy, The Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities
Research Fellowship, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard

Additional Links


August 1, 2018: Bloomberg wrote a column on Patrick and Chris' study "65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence: Results of two nationally representative surveys

July 20, 2018: Patrick and Chris' op-ed "You're Not as Smart as You Think: Perils and Benefits of Overconfidence" appeared in the Wall Street Journal

July 15, 2018: Dr. Michelle Meyer will speak about the A/B illusion on a panel about "Ethics in Computational Social Science" at the annual International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2) in Evanston, IL

July 3, 2018: Article by Drs. Patrick Heck and Christopher Chabris (with Dr. Dan Simons of the University of Illinois), "65% of Americans believe they are above average in intelligence: Results of two nationally representative surveys," was published in PLoS ON E; see coverage by Real Clear Science

January 3, 2018: Geoff will present his research with Michelle on "IRB Risk Aversion and Prospective Participant Welfare," and his own work on “Beyond Emotion versus Reason: Does Neuroscience Undermine a Classic Metaethical Distinction?,” at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Savannah, GA

November 30, 2017: wide-ranging interview with Michelle on Genome Magazine's The Genome Podcast

November 7, 2017: Michelle was a panelist on "Ethics and Privacy in the Era of Big Data" at the Technology in Psychiatry Summit at Harvard Medical School

November 1, 2017: Michelle was quoted in Antonio Regalado, "Eugenics 2.0: We're at the Dawn of Choosing Embyros By Health, Height, and More," MIT Technology Review

October 26, 2017: Michelle and Geisinger colleagues published Early cancer diagnoses through BRCA1/2 screening of unselected adult biobank participants in Genetics in Medicine, reporting early clinical experiences returning genomic research results to patients in a learning healthcare system