Rosalyn W. Berne, Ph.D.

Associate Professor: Science, Technology & Society

Rosalyn Berne
As a scholar of Science, Technology and Society (STS) formally trained in bioethics, Rosalyn W. Berne, Ph.D. explores the intersecting realms of emerging technologies, science, fiction and myth, and the links between the human and non-human worlds. Her research and writing span considerations of ethics in biotechnology, nanotechnology, and new reproductive technologies. Recently, she has been looking at ethics in encounters with living systems, based on scientific discoveries of the sensing, intelligence, and communicative capacities of plants and animals. Berne also writes in the genre of science fiction, and often uses science fiction in her teaching of ethics. (See also www.


email: rwb (at)
phone: 434-924-6098
office: A236 Thornton Hall


Ph.D. Religious Studies / Bio Ethics, University of Virginia, 1999

M.A., Rhetoric & Communication Studies, University of Virginia, 1981

B.A., Speech Communication, University of Virginia, 1979

Research Areas

Biomedical and engineering ethics; Ethics in emergence and development of new technologies (Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, New reproductive Technologies); Pedagogical use of science fiction in ethics; Ethics in encounters with living systems including plants and animals.

Awards and Distinctions

Artist in Residence, Nantucket Institute School of Design & the Arts, Nantucket, MA, 2015
Artist in Residence, Hedgebrook: Women Authoring Change, Whidbey, Island, WA, 2007
Fulbright Scholar’s Lectureship Award Nehru University, India, 2007
Outstanding Teaching and Service Award, Department of Science, Technology and Society, University of Virginia, 2003
Virginia Leadership Award, National Organization of Women, Charlottesville, Virginia, 1999

Recent Courses

STS 1500: Science, Technology & Contemporary Issues: “Socio-technical Futures in Engineering and Science Fiction”
STS 2500: Science, Fiction, and the New Reproductive Technologies
STS 2500: Science and Technology in Social and Global Context: “Biotechnology and the Frankenstein Myth”
STS 2500:Technology, Science Fiction and the Future
STS 4500: Science, Technology and Society in Engineering Practice
STS 4600 Engineering Ethics and Society

Selected Publications

Berne, R.W. Waking to Beauty. (2016). Faber, VA: Rainbow Ridge Books.

Berne, R.W. (2014), Editor. Creating Life from Life: Biotechnology and Science Fiction. Singapore: Pan Stanford Publishing.

Berne, R.W. (2013). When the Horses Whisper. Faber, VA: Rainbow Ridge Books.

Berne, R.W. (2012). Waiting in the Silence. Little Rock, AK: Spore Press.

Berne, R.W. (2006). Nanotalk: Conversations with Scientists and Engineers about Ethics, Meaning and Belief in the Development of Nanotechnology. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.