Bartha Maria  KNOPPERS

Bartha Maria KNOPPERS

2014 Scientific Scientific

A distinguished, internationally renowned Canadian lawyer, Bartha Maria Knoppers is an expert on the ethical aspects of genetics, genomics, and biotechnology.

Born in Hilversum, Netherlands on May 26, 1951, Ms. Knoppers completed a Master of Arts degree in comparative literature at the University of Alberta before furthering her studies in law at McGill University. She also holds a Doctorate of Laws degree from the Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1985.


Bartha Maria Knoppers leads an impressive university career in the fields of medical law and biomedical ethics. For several years now, she has focused on such emerging topics as bio-banks, stem cell research, cloning, population genetic studies, assisted reproduction, neonatal screening, pharmacogenomics, and public health.


In the 1990s, she was the Chair of the International Ethics Committee of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO), and was a member of UNESCO’s International Bioethics Committee, which drafted the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights.


In 2007, Bartha Maria Knoppers established the Population Project in Genomics (P3G) and the Quebec bio-bank CARTaGENE, which collects biological samples from over 20,000 people. From 2006 to 2008, she was the holder of the Chaire d’excellence Pierre de Fermat in Paris.


Since 2005, Bartha Maria Knoppers has been the Chair of the Ethics Working Party of the International Stem Cell Forum, and since 2007, she has been the Co-Chair of the Sampling/ELSI Committee (1000 Genomes Project). More recently, she became the Chair of the Regulatory and Ethics Working Group, and a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.


An eminent figure, Bartha Maria Knoppers plays a leading role in the fight for the social appropriation of genetics and genomics. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine, and has made exceptional contributions in the field of genomics.


Bartha Maria Knoppers has received numerous distinctions and honorary doctorates. Her remarkable career has earned her the title of Officer of the Ordre national du Québec (2012). She has also received the Montréal InVivo Prize for the life sciences and health technologies sector, and was named Champion of Genetics by the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation (2013).