Dr Morven Shearer

Dr Morven Shearer
Academic Fellow

Graduating from the University of Glasgow with a BSc (Hons I) degree in Pharmacology, I was awarded a MSc in Pharmacology by the University of Iowa for my work on cellular signalling mechanisms in breast and brain cancer, and a PhD from the University of Cambridge for my investigations into nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury.

I moved to the University of St Andrews in 2001. During this time, I became interested in biomedical ethics, an interest which I developed further during my time at the Ethox Centre, University of Oxford and at the University of London. I joined the School of Medicine in February 2011.

I am interested in the ethical issues raised by developments in medicine and healthcare, which can cover a wide range of areas. For example, following on from my work on paediatric anti-depressant use, I was involved in research on the optimisation of care of children with cerebral palsy, and the evaulation of their transition into adult services. In summer 2011 I worked at the WHO headquarters in Geneva on the Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) international questionnaire, which is a part of a multi-partner project exploring the effects of child maltreatment on long term chronic health and health risk behaviours. More recently, I've been working with colleagues in global health to look at ethics and regulation of research. This summer (2017) I'm working with a Laidlaw scholar and a colleague in palliative care, to look at decision-making in end-of-life care.

My interest in research ethics & governance, ties in with my role as Convenor of the School Ethics Committee, and my position on UTREC & AWEC.

I also enjoy being involved in the SoTL, particularly in relation to ethics teaching and reflection. In AY2017/18 I was involved in starting a Faculty Learning Community (FLC) with colleagues from across Science & Medicine to foster cross-disciplinary discussion around pedagogy.


  • Teaching: designing, overseeing and delivering teaching in medical ethics from first to third year
  • Convenor, School Ethics Committee
  • Member & Deputy Convenor, University Teaching & Research Ethics Committee (UTREC)
  • Member, Animal Welfare & Ethics Committee (AWEC)
  • Personal Tutor
  • Member (Ethics lead, St Andrews), Institute of Medical Ethics Regional Group
data source: symbiosis

Research Overview from research@st-andrews

I'm an Academic Fellow in the School of Medicine and I work in the area of medical ethics and healthcare policy. I also have interests in pedagogy and SoTL (scholarship of teaching and learning). 

source: research@st-andrews
Recent publications listed in research@st-andrews
Shearer, MC 2013, 'Expert interview on medical and health perspectives relating to the rights of the child in international surrogacy matters.', pp. 15-17, ISS/IRC Monthly Review , 174 International Reference Centre for the Rights of Children Deprived of their Family.
Wright, AE, Robb, J & Shearer, MC 2012, 'Exploring transition from paediatric to adult health services for people with cerebral palsy' International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health, St Andrews, United Kingdom, 6/09/12 - 8/09/12, .
Shearer, MC 2012, 'Children as a vulnerable population: protected or neglected?' Association of Medical Humanities, Cork, United Kingdom, 9/07/12 - 11/07/12, .
Shearer, MC 2012, 'Changing sources of health information: "Trust me I'm a doctor", vs "Trust me, I'm the internet"' SCRIPT Conference, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom, 6/06/12 - 8/06/12, .
Shearer, MC 2012, 'Workshop: Ethics in everyday practice' Annual meeting of the University Departments of General Practice in Scotland, Dundee, United Kingdom, 19/01/12 - 20/01/12, .
Deacutis, MF & Shearer, MC 2011, 'Improving healthcare provision for children through pharmaceutical testing: The ethics of exposing a vulnerable community to unknown risks.' American Public Health Association Annual Meeting, Washington DC, United States, 29/10/11 - 2/11/11, .
Shearer, MC & Vanderpoel, S 2011, 'Right to life vs right to found a family: The case of Costa Rica', BioNews, 625 Progress Educational Trust, 19 September.
Shearer, MC 2011, 'The ethics of womb donation and transplantation', BioNews, 618 Progress Educational Trust, 01 August.
Adams, D, Arkle, S, Bevan, R, Boachie-Ansah, G, Bradshaw, T, Cameron, G, Campbell, A-M, Chamberlain, M, Gibson, A, Gowers, D, Hayes, M, Heritage, J, Hollingsworth, M, Hooper, H, Hudson, K, Hughes, I, Lindsey, N, Meskin, S, Park, J, Podesta, T, Rattray, J, Scott, G, Shearer, MC, Smalley, H, Smith, VA, Smith, D, Tierney, A, Todd, M, Verran, J, Wakeford, C, Wilbraham, J & Wilson, J 2008, 1st Year Practicals: Their Role in Developing Future Bioscientists. Unknown Publisher.
Asher, RA, Morgenstern, DA, Shearer, MC, Adcock, KH, Pesheva, P & Fawcett, JW 2002, 'Versican is upregulated in CNS injury and is a product of oligodendrocyte lineage cells.' The Journal of Neuroscience, vol 22, no. 6, pp. 2225-2236.
Fawcett, JW, Shearer, MC & Adcock, KH 2002, In vitro models of glial boundaries. in H Aldskogius & J Fraher (eds), Glial Interfaces in the Nervous System: Role in Repair and Plasticity.