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Personal profile



Catherine Mills is Director of the Monash Bioethics Centre. Her disciplinary background is philosophy, and her research addresses ethical issues in human reproduction, especially from the perspective of how new reproductive technologies impact on women. She also has expertise in feminist philosophy and aspects of Continental philosophy, particularly the work of Michel Foucault, and debates on biopolitics. 

She is the author of three single author books, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. Her books are: The Philosophy of Agamben (2008), Futures of Reproduction: Bioethics and biopolitics (2011) and Biopolitics (2018). 

She leads the Reproductive Biomedicine and Technology group in the Monash Bioethics Centre. Her current  research projects are on ethical, social and regulatory issues related to non-invasive prenatal testing (funded by the ARC) and the use of genomics to prevent mitochondrial diseases (funded by the MRFF). She is also part of a project on commercial influences within the IVF industry (funded by the NHMRC). 

Previous funded projects include an ARC Future Fellowship (2013 to 2018), on ideas of responsibility in relation to human reproduction. An ARC Discovery Project (2017-2019) supports research on the ethical and legal issues raised by technologies that permit inheritable genetic modifications to the human genome, such as mitochondrial replacement techniques and CRISPR-Cas9. An earlier ARC Discovery Project supported research on obstetric ultrasound and selective termination of pregnancy. 


Recent publications include: 


Sparrow, R., and Mills, C. 2021. Genome editing: From Bioethics to BiopoliticsBiosocieties. Online First, 6 May 2021. DOI: 10.1057/s41292-021-00229-5.


Mills, Catherine (2020), Nuclear Families: Mitochondrial replacement techniques and the regulation of parenthood. Science, Technology and Human Values. Online First: 2 July. Preprint at Monash Bridges


Hempton, Courtney, and Catherine Mills. Forthcoming. “Constitution of ‘the Already Dying’: The Emergence of Voluntary Assisted Dying in Victoria”. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. Monash University doi:10.26180/13332407.


Mills, Catherine (2018), Seeing, Feeling, Doing: Mandatory Ultrasound Laws, Empathy and Abortion. Journal of Practical Ethics 6:2, 31pp.


HDR Supervision

She is available to supervise research students in the Philosophy (including Bioethics) HDR program. She has particular interest in supervising projects in the following areas (or combination thereof):

- reproductive ethics, including ethics of pregnancy and parenting, obstetrics and perinatality

- innovation in human reproduction, including issues around ARTs, gene editing, human enhancement and disability

- biopolitics, including biocapital and power, especally the work of Foucault

- feminist theory, including theories of gender and intersectionality, maternity and subjectivity 



She is a member of the The Ethics of Gene-Modifying Technologies Working Group, for SHAPES, National University of Singapore; the Human Genome Society Committee on Ethics Law and Society and co-coordinator of the Feminist Approaches to Bioethics Network


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Research area keywords

  • Reproductive technologies
  • Bioethics
  • Feminist theory
  • Biopolitics
  • Foucault

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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