Thomas Tomlinson

Tom Tomlinson photo


Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences

Professor, Department of Philosophy

C-223 East Fee Hall
(517) 355-1634
tom.tomlinson @

PhD 1980 Michigan State University
BS 1971 Michigan State University

Curriculum Vitae
MSU Scholars Profile
Research Gate Profile


Tom Tomlinson's recent projects include an examination of public attitudes toward protection of non-welfare interests in research uses of archived biological samples, and a critique of patients’ “right not to know” their terminal prognosis.
Other current research interests include enabling participants in clinical trials to compare the research intervention with the option of remaining in standard treatment; and the use of medical interventions to remedy the effects of social prejudice.

Selected Publications

Stahl D, Tomlinson T. Is there a right not to know? Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology. 2017 May;14(5):259-260.

De Vries RG, Tomlinson T, Kim HM, Krenz C, Haggerty D, et al. Understanding the Public’s Reservations about Broad Consent and Study-By-Study Consent for Donations to a Biobank: Results of a National Survey. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(7): e0159113. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159113.

De Vries RG, Tomlinson T, Kim HM, Krenz CD, Ryan KA, Lehpamer N, Kim SY. The moral concerns of biobank donors: the effect of non-welfare interests on willingness to donate. Life Sciences, Society and Policy. 2016;12:3. doi: 10.1186/s40504-016-0036-4.

Tomlinson T. The Texas Advance Directives Act Is Not About Professional Integrity. American Journal of Bioethics. 2015;15(8):46-48.


Tomlinson T, De Vries R, Ryan K, Kim H, Lehpamer N, Kim SH. Moral Concerns and the Willingness to Donate to a Research Biobank. JAMA. 2015;313(4):417-419.

Tomlinson T. Methods in Medical Ethics: Critical Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press; 2012.

Selected Achievements and Awards

Distinguished Faculty Award, College of Human Medicine, 2011.

Public Preferences for Addressing Donors' Moral Concerns about Biobank Research. 5R01 HG007172. 2013-17. National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH.

Ethics and Public Attitudes Toward the Research Uses of Archived Biological Specimens. R21 HG005756. 2010-12. National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH.

Training for Scholarship in Research Ethics. R25 TW007087. 2004-2008. Fogarty International Center, NIH.

Reviewer: Hastings Center Report, New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Journal of Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Journal of Clinical Ethics, Journal of Medical Ethics, Temple University Press, C.V. Mosby Publishing, Oxford University Press, Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

Past Treasurer, Association of Bioethics Program Directors.