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Dr Louise Bezuidenhout

Research Fellow

I am an empirical ethicist whose research focuses on issues relating to responsibility and openness in the life sciences.  In particular I am interested in how the daily practices of laboratory research influence and shape how scientists conceptualize and discuss their responsibilities towards their colleagues and society.  The majority of my research focuses on life science research in developing countries - particularly sub-Saharan Africa.  I am fascinated by how and why developing country scientists are represented (or not) in international life science ethics discourse and whether STS research and policy development can be made more sensitive to reflect the pressures of these research environments.

Research group links

Research interests

At the moment I am working on a Leverhulme project entitled "Beyond the Digital Divide: Data Sharing and Developing Countries".  Together with Brian Rappert, Sabina Leonelli and Ann Kelly I am looking at ways in which scientists in developing countries - for practical and philosophical reasons - continue to struggle to fully exploit the online resources that are increasingly becoming available due to the push towards Open Science.


For more information on the project please contact me directly or visit the project website at  From mid-2014 to mid-2015 I will be conducting fieldwork in a number of sub-Saharan African laboratories, so please keep checking the website for updates!


I also continue to be interested in other issues relating to the governance of the life scientists, cross-national collaborative research in the life sciences, ethics discourse in the life sciences and the notion of "responsible science".  All of these interests are focused on research in developing countries.

Other information

Book chapters

Rappert, B. and Bezuidenhout, L. (2010) Lessons for moving ahead, in  Rappert B. (ed), Education and Ethics in the Life Sciences, Canberra: Australian National University Press.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2013).  Dual-use issues and life science research in developing countries in Rappert, B., Selgelid, M. (eds) On the Dual Uses of Science and Ethics.  Canberra: Australian National University Press


Journal articles

Shabani, M., Bezuidenhout, L., Borry, P. (2014). Attitudes of research participants and the general public towards genomic data sharing: A systematic literature review. Expert Reviews in Molecular Diagnostics. Publication data 2014/09/26.


Bezuidenhout, L., Gould, C. (2014). Winning the battle against emerging pathogens: a South African response. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists 70: 10 – 13.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2014). Ethics in the minutiae: examining the impact of daily laboratory processes on ethical behaviour and ethics education. Science and Engineering Ethics. Online publication 25/12/2013.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2014).  Moving life science ethics debates beyond national borders: some empirical observations.  Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(2): 445 – 467.


Edwards, B., Revill, J., Bezuidenhout, L. (2013).  From cases to capacity? A critical reflection on the role of “ethical dilemmas” in the development of dual-use governance.  Science and Engineering Ethics, 20(2): 1 – 12.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2013).  Dual-use issues and data sharing.  Science and Engineering Ethics, 19(1): 83 – 92.


Bezuidenhout, L., Farrant, J., Gould, C. (2013). Academy of Science of South Africa survey: responsibility in the life sciences. South African Medical Journal, 103(10): 704.


Bezuidenhout, L., Donaghy, J. (2012).  Making data accessible for all: a conference report.  EASST Review, 31(3): 15 – 16.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2012).  Research structures, policies and the “web of prevention”: ethical implications for insufficient environments.   Medicine, Conflict and Survival, 28(1): 5 – 18


Bezuidenhout, L. (2010).  Beyond Biosecurity: the Principle of Dual-Use, African Biological Safety Association E pub, June 2010


Bezuidenhout, L. (2010).  Commentary on the African Biological Safety Association Inaugural Meeting. South African Journal of Science, 106 (5/6): 4


Commentary in Mail and Guardian:


Bezuidenhout, L. Borry, P. (2009).  Examining the role of informal interpretation in medical interviews.  Journal of Medical Ethics, 35: 159 – 162


Bezuidenhout, L., Zilla, P., Davies, N. (2009).  Association of Ang-2 with Integrin B2 controls Ang-2/PDGF-BB-dependent upregulation of human peripheral blood monocyte fibrinolysis.  Inflammation 32(6): 393 – 401s


Bezuidenhout, L., Bracher, M., Davison, G., Zilla, P., Davies, N. (2007).  Ang-2 and PDGF-BB cooperatively stimulate human peripheral blood monocyte fibrinolysis.  Journal of Leukocyte Biology 81: 1496 – 1503


Online Encylopedia Entry

Bezuidenhout, L. and Rappert, B. (2012).  Dual-use Research.  Entry in Ethics CORE: A Collaborative Online Resource Environment


Roundtable Discussions and Online Opinion Pieces

Three roundtable discussion pieces with Chandre Gould for the Development and Disarmament Roundtable: How to Confront Emerging Pathogens in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2014).


Developing Countries and the Dual-Use Debate – Why All the Fuss? (2013) for Biochem Security 2030.


Other publications

Bezuidenhout, L. (2013). Country Report: South Africa in Walter, G., Whitby, S. (eds) BioWeapons Monitor 2013. BioWeapons Prevention Project.


Academic publications


Bezuidenhout, L. (2007) Angiopoietin-2 and Platelet-derived Growth factor-BB Cooperatively Stimulate Human Peripheral Blood Monocyte Fibinolysis (PhD thesis, University of Cape Town, South Africa). Available in print from university or from author.


Bezuidenhout, L. (2013).  Contextuality in Life Science Ethics: Dual-Use as a Case Study (PhD thesis, University of Exeter, South Africa).  Soon to be available online at Open Research Exeter.


In Press

Bezuidenhout, L. (accepted 07/2013). Virtue Ethics as a Tool for Dual-Use Education Monograph for Wellcome Trust Project Building Sustainable Capacity in Dual-Use Bioethics.  



2014 - 2015.  Researcher: University of Exeter, UK
Department: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Project title: Beyond the Digital Divide: Data Sharing and Developing Countries
Project PI: Prof Brian Rappert
Funding body: Leverhulme Trust
Research: please see

2014 - 2015.  Lecturer: University of Witwatersrand, RSA
Centre: Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics
Primary duties: Coordinating the course on empirical research methodologies for the MA in Bioethics programme.  Involvement in key centre activities.

2013.  Contract researcher: Academy of Sciences of South Africa, RSA
Project title: An Assessment of Research and Diagnostic Laboratories in South Africa.
Project PIs: Dr Chandre Gould (Institute for Security Studies), Prof Jill Farrant (University of Cape Town)
Funding body: Academy of Sciences of South Africa. Salary ZAR 30 000 pm.
Primary duties: Coordinating a project that aims to 1) map current life science research and diagnostic facilities in South Africa, and 2) to conduct a survey to assess the penetrance of biosafety, biosecurity and bioethics awareness and education amongst South African life scientists. In conducting these surveys I am drawing on my extensive organizational skills and project organization, and my previous fieldwork skills in interviewing and conducting focus groups.  These projects draw on my previous experience as a social science researcher who specializes in examining and understanding ethical issues relating to African and developing country life science research.

2013.  Visiting Research Fellow: University of Witwatersrand, RSA
Department: WITS Centre for Ethics
Funding body:  University of Witwatersrand
Research: I am attempting to extend my PhD work, particularly focusing on how African scientists access and interact with life science ethics discussions.  In particular I examine whether current methods for engaging developing country scientists in discussions about broad social issues in science have inherent flaws that detract from their participation.  Similarly to my PhD, I use empirical sociological methodologies to inform my ethical research.  As a result of these investigations I hope to develop a better understanding of the possible use of virtue ethics as a tool for teaching life science ethics, and as a means of ensuring the participation of previously marginalized scientists in international discourse.

2009 – 2013.  PhD candidate (Sociology and Philosophy): University of Exeter, UK
Awarded June 2013 without corrections
Department: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Project title: Considering Contextuality in Life Science Ethics: Dual-Use as a Case Study
Supervisors: Prof Brian Rappert, Dr Mariana Wilson-Kovacs
Funding body: Wellcome Trust
Key skills developed: High level of qualitative methodology competence including interviewing and focus groups, competence in data analysis techniques, experience conducting and organizing international fieldwork, considerable experience presenting research results at conferences, seminars and in peer-reviewed publications, independent development of project and motivation towards completion, high level of competence in subject areas including bioethics, business ethics, virtue ethics, sociology of science and dual-use bioethics.
Additional skills acquired: Teaching experience (2nd year sociology: 2012, 3rd year criminology: 2012), Associate of Higher Education Academy (2013), ethics mentoring for UE iGEM team (2012), experience working on an international project for university quality assessment (European Universities Association Project: Europe Africa Quality Connect: 2011), involvement in university governance (Student-Staff Liaison committee: 2011 - 2012), conference organization (Publishing in Academia: a Graduate Conference: 2011), student representation (British Postgraduate Philosophy Association: University representative 2010 – 2012).

2008 – 2009.  Postdoctoral Researcher: University of Edinburgh, UK
Department: Cardiovascular Sciences
Project title: Using Ultrasmall Paramagnetic Iron Oxide Particles to Visualise Early-Stage Atherosclerosis: Model Development and Extension
PI: Dr Patrick Hadoke
Funding body: TMRI
Key skills developed: Small animal surgical skills, extensive molecular biology skills, high competence in various imaging modalities incl. MRI, ultrasound, OPT and confocal microscopy, data analysis techniques.
Additional skills acquired: MSc mentoring (2009), science and society outreach (communications officer for British Science Association: 2008 - 2009).

2007 – 2008.  Erasmus Mundus MA in Bioethics: KU Leuven, Belgium, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, University of Padova, Italy
Degree awarded June 2008 Summa Cum Laude
Project title: Examining the Ethics of Informal Interpretation in Medical Interviews
Supervisor: Dr Pascal Borry
Funding body: Erasmus Mundus Association
Key skills developed: Quantitative methodology competence and international execution, considerable experience in cross-cultural ethics debates, high level of competence in theoretical aspects of bioethics, statistical data analysis techniques.
Additional skills acquired: Ability to interact with peers from diverse cultural backgrounds as the MA included a year residence with class members from 16 different countries, continued involvement in Erasmus Mundus Association as an active member of the Alumni Association and the African Chapter of the Alumni Association.

2003 – 2007.  PhD (Cardiothoracic Surgery): University of Cape Town, South Africa
Awarded September 2007 with minor corrections
Department: Cardiovascular Research Unit
Project title: Angiopoietin-2 and Platelet-derived Growth Factor ßß Cooperatively Stimulate Monocyte Fibrinolysis
Supervisor: Dr Neil Davies
Funding body: Medtronic Inc
Key skills developed:  High levels of competence in molecular biology techniques including cell culture, high level of competence in microscopy (light, SEM, TEM and confocal), fibrinolysis assay and cell migration assay development and execution, creation and use of adeno-associated virus in in vitro research, development of animal models to test in vitro findings, considerable experience presenting research results at conferences, seminars and in peer-reviewed publications, statistical data analysis techniques.
Additional skills acquired: Teaching experience (Honours cell biology: 2006, 2nd year genetics: 2003 – 2005, 1st year biology: 2001, 2002), mentoring experience (BSc honours project: 2005, BSc honours project: 2003), science and social outreach (communications officer: South African Women in Science and Engineering: 2004 – 2007), university governance (postgraduate student representative (human biology): postgraduate representative council: 2005 – 2006).

2003 – 2007.  BA: University of South Africa
Degree awarded December 2007 first class
Major subjects: English, creative writing and philosophy
Funding: self
Key skills developed: thorough grounding in English and creative writing, philosophy minor leading to adequate competence in philosophy.
Additional skills acquired: As a correspondence course conducted concurrently to the PhD above, this BA caused significant development in time management, self-motivation and independent study.

2002.  BSc (Med) Honours (Cell Biology): University of Cape Town
Degree awarded December 2002 first class
Project title: Using siRNA to Investigate the Role of Thrombospondin-1 in Vascular Development
Supervisor: Dr Neil Davies
Funding body: University of Cape Town merit scholarship
Key skills developed: Cell culture competence, RNA interference assays and cell transfection.
Additional skills acquired: Teaching experience (1st year biology: 2002), student governance (student representative for life sciences: 2002), community outreach project coordinator (SHAWCO: 2002).

1999 – 2001. BSc: University of Cape Town
Degree awarded December 2012 upper second
Major subjects: Biochemistry, Genetics, Archaeology
Funding body: University of Cape Town merit scholarship

1999.  Matriculation: Pretoria High School for Girls, South Africa
Awarded December 1999 with six distinctions
Major subjects: Biology, Physical Science, Mathematics, English, Afrikaans, German

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