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Barbara J. Evans

Barbara J. Evans, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., Director

The healthcare industry is in a period of profound, technology-driven restructuring sparked by game-changing advances in the life sciences and information technology, creating novel legal challenges in diverse areas like data privacy, creation of sustainable data infrastructures to ensure the safety of genomic technologies, and clinical translation of precision medicine. The UH Center for Biotechnology and Law, under the direction of Dr. Barbara J. Evans, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., was established in 2007 as part of the Health Law & Policy Institute. In 2014, it expanded its scope to encompass non-medical biotechnologies such as genetically modified foods and industrial biotechnologies.

Since 2007, the center has developed several new biotechnology-themed courses to position UH Law grads for success in the expanding local and national biotechnology job markets. All biotechnology-related courses are practice-oriented and are cross-listed with the Law Center’s leading programs Health Law, Intellectual Property and Information Law (IPIL), and Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources (EENR), making it possible for students to develop key skills in life sciences and biotech law while pursuing J.D. or LL.M. programs in any of those fields. Examples of career paths taken by past graduates of UH’s biotechnology-related courses include working in U.S. and international law firms representing pharmaceutical and medical device industry clients, in the Silicon Valley health information technology/biotechnology industry, in academic research institutions, and in the research administration, privacy compliance, technology licensing, and legal departments of leading healthcare institutions and academic medical centers in Texas. The biotechnology field is quite diverse and offers opportunities for students with non-scientific backgrounds, such as bioethics and liberal arts, as well as for those with prior interests in engineering and sciences.  

This center has a strong research focus and maintains an active portfolio of sponsored research projects with funding from the National Institutes of Health/National Human Genome Research Institute; the Greenwall Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is at the leading edge of major policy debates in genomics, precision medicine, big data, and privacy, with more than 35 appearances at high-profile national events in the past two years, including brainstorming sessions with the White House’s precision medicine team, an invitation to the White House Champions of Change in Precision Medicine event, and presentations before the Health Data Exploration Project, the DataLex conference at Santa Cruz, the Harvard Medical School’s Precision Medicine Conference, and the Center for Predictive Computational Phenotyping at the University of Wisconsin. The center is a conduit for close research collaborations with researchers at 16 top medical schools, genomics programs, and leading health law programs around the nation as well as with the Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Medicine and The Food and Drug Law Institute. These projects have produced 26 major works of scholarship since 2012, including eight law review articles, five book chapters, nine peer-reviewed articles in high-impact scientific and medical journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Nature’s Genetics  in Medicine, and the American Journal of Human Genetics, and four book-length collaborative research reports and white papers.

Students wishing to learn more about biotechnology & law should contact Prof. Barbara Evans,, 713-743-2993.


Evans participates in White House/Medicine X Workshop on Partnership in Research 

University of Houston Law Center Professor Barbara Evans visited the White House on June 2 to take part in a design workshop hosted by the White House Office for Science & Technology Policy and Stanford Medicine X. more...


UHLC Prof. Evans celebrates victory in historic Oxford Union Debate about DNA manipulation

University of Houston Law Center Professor Barbara Evans was part of a three-member team that clinched victory recently in a closely watched, hard-fought debate about the morality of human DNA manipulation at the Oxford Union Debating Society at Oxford University. more...