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E.M. (Eline) Bunnik, PhD

Assistant Professor

  • Department
  • Medical Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine
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Dr. Eline M. Bunnik is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Medical Ethics, Philosophy and History of Medicine at Erasmus MC. Her background is in Philosophy.

In 2014, she completed a PhD-project on ethical issues in genomic testing.

She has since led research projects on medical ethics and research ethics, with a special focus on the ethical implications of technological innovation in clinical practice.

She is currently interested in access and funding models for new medical cancer treatments.

Eline serves on committees and advises on national and international research projects.

She teaches medical ethics and research ethics at undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels, at Erasmus MC and elsewhere.

Field(s) of expertise

  • Ethical issues in compassionate use and access to innovative medical treatments 
  • Ethics of predictive medicine, genetics and genomics, epigenetics, biomarkers 
  • Research ethics, incidental findings, informed consent 
  • Reproductive ethics, prenatal screening 
  • Organ donation and transplantation

Education and career

  • PhD ‘Up Close and Personal: Ethical Issues in Genomic Testing,’ Erasmus MC (2014)
  • Propedeuse Medicine at Erasmus MC (2008)
  • Research Master (MA) Philosophy (cum laude), University of Amsterdam (2005)
  • Bachelor (BA) Philosphy (cum laude), University of Amsterdam (2003)



  1. Bunnik EM, Aarts. What do patients with unmet medical needs want? A qualitative study of patients’ views and experiences with expanded access to unapproved, investigational treatments in the Netherlands. BMC Medical Ethics (in press). 
  2. Bakkeren IM, Kater-Kuipers A, Bunnik EM, et al. Implementing non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in the Netherlands: An interview study exploring opinions about and experiences with societal pressure, reimbursement and an expanding scope. Journal of Genetic Counseling (in press) 
  3. Bunnik EM, Kater-Kuipers A, Galjaard RH, de Beaufort ID. Should pregnant women be charged for non-invasive prenatal screening? Implications for reproductive autonomy and equal access. Journal of Medical Ethics 16 September 2019. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2019-105675 [Epub ahead of print] 
  4. Bunnik EM. Let us not take the ethics out of innovative practice: A case against institutional review. American Journal of Bioethics 2019; 19(06): 36-38. 


  1. Bunnik EM, Meulenberg F, de Beaufort ID. Ethical issues in the beauty salon: the development of national ethics guidelines for aestheticians in the Netherlands. Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics 2018; 8(3):247-260. 
  2. Bunnik EM, Aarts N, van de Vathorst S. Little to lose and no other options: Ethical issues in efforts to facilitate expanded access to investigational drugs. Health Policy 2018; 122(9):977-983. 
  3. Bunnik, EM, Richard E, Milne R, Schermer MHN. On the personal utility of Alzheimer's disease-related biomarker testing in the research context. Journal of Medical Ethics 2018; 44 (12), 830-834. 
  4. Kater-Kuipers A, Bunnik EM, de Beaufort ID, Galjaard RJH. Limits to the scope of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT): an analysis of the international ethical framework for prenatal screening and an interview study with Dutch professionals. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 2018; 18:409. 
  5. Kater-Kuipers A, de Beaufort ID, Galjaard RH, Bunnik EM. Ethics of routine: a critical analysis of the concept of 'routinisation' in prenatal screening. Journal of Medical Ethics 2018; 44:626-631. 
  6. Bunnik EM, Aarts N. A model for communication about longshot treatments in the context of early access to unapproved, investigational drugs. American Journal of Bioethics 2018; 18(1):34-36 
  7. Milne R, Bunnik E, Diaz A, Richard E, Badger S, Gove D, Georges J, Fauria K, Molinuevo JL, Wells K, Ritchie C, Brayne C. Perspectives on Communicating Biomarker-Based Assessments of Alzheimer's Disease to Cognitively Healthy Individuals. Alzheimers Disease 2018; 62(2):487-498. 


  1. Milne RJ, Bunnik EM, Tromp K, Bemelmans S, Badger S, Gove D, Maman M, Schermer M, Truyen L, Brayne C, Richard E. Ethical issues in the development of readiness cohorts in Alzheimer’s disease research. The Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease 2017; 4(2):125-131. 
  2. Bunnik EM, Aarts N, Chen LA. Physicians must discuss potential long-term risks of fecal microbiota transplantation to ensure informed consent. American Journal of Bioethics 2017;17(5):61-63. 
  3. Bunnik EM, Aarts N, van de Vathorst S. The changing landscape of expanded access to investigational drugs for patients with unmet medical needs: ethical implications. J Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice 2017;10:10. 
  4. Janssens ACJW, Bunnik EM, Burke W, Schermer MHN. Uninformed consent in nutrigenomic research. European Journal of Human Genetics 2017;25(7):789-790 
  5. Wouters RHP, Cornelis C, Newson AJ, Bunnik EM, Bredenoord AL. Scanning the body, sequencing the genome: Dealing with unsolicited findings. Bioethics 2017; 31(9):648-656. 
  6. Wit, de MC, Bunnik EM, Go ATJI, de Beaufort ID, Hofstra RMW, Steegers EAP, Galjaard RJH. Amniocentesis is still the best option for advanced genomic testing in case of fetal malformations. Prenatal Diagnosis 2017;3 7(13):1360-1363. 
  7. Steen, van der SL, Bunnik EM, Polak MG, Diderich KEM, Verhagen-Visser J, Govaerts LCP, Joosten M, Knapen MFCM, Go ATJI, Van Opstal D, Srebniak MI, Galjaard RJH, Tibben A, Riedijk SR. Choosing between higher and lower resolution microarrays: do pregnant women have sufficient knowledge to make informed choices consistent with their attitude? Journal of Genetic Counselling 2017; 27(1):85-94. 
  8. Bunnik EM, van Bodegom L, Pinxten W, de Beaufort ID, Vernooij MW. Ethical framework for the detection, management and communication of incidental findings in imaging studies, building on an interview study of researchers' practices and perspectives. BMC Medical Ethics 2017; 18(1):10. 


  1. Bemelmans SA, Tromp K, Bunnik EM, Milne RJ, Badger S, Brayne C, Schermer MH, Richard E. Psychologial, behavioral and social effects of disclosing Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers to research participants: a systematic review. Alzheimer’s Research and Therapy 2016; 8:46. 
  2. Bunnik EM, Vernooij MW. Incidental findings in population imaging revisited. European Journal of Epidemiology 2016;31(1):1-4. 


  1. Bunnik EM, Janssens ACJW, Schermer MHN. Personal utility in genomic testing: is there such a thing? Journal of Medical Ethics 2015;41(4):322-6. 
  2. Bunnik EM. Do genomic tests enhance autonomy? Journal of Medical Ethics 2015; 41(4):315-6. 


  1. Bunnik EM, Schermer MH, Janssens AC. Naming and framing in genomic testing. Trends in Molecular Medicine 2014; 20(2):63-5. 
  2. Bunnik EM, Janssens AC, Schermer MH. Informed consent in direct-to-consumer personal genome testing: the outline of a model between specific and generic consent. Bioethics 2014; 28(7):343-51. 


  1. Bunnik EM, de Jong A, Nijsingh N, de Wert GMWR. The new genetics and informed consent: Differentiating choice to preserve autonomy. Bioethics 2013; 27(6):348-355. 
  2. Bunnik EM, Janssens ACJW, Schermer MHN. A tiered-layered-staged model for informed consent in personal genome testing. European Journal of Human Genetics 2013; 21(6): 596-601.


  1. Bunnik EM, Janssens AC, Schermer MH. The role of disease characteristics in the ethical debate on personal genome testing. BMC Medical Genomics 2012; 5:4.


  1. Bunnik EM, Schermer MH, Janssens AC. Personal genome testing: test characteristics to clarify the discourse on ethical,legal and societal issues. BMC Medical Ethics 2011; 12:11.


  1. Bunnik E, Janssens AC, Schermer M. How attitudes research contributes to overoptimistic expectations of personal genometesting. American Journal of Bioethics 2009; 9(6-7):23-5.

Teaching activities

  • Lectures and working group sessions for medical students;
  • Supervision of PhD-students, master students, minor students;
  • Ethics courses for medical specialists in training, primary care practitioners in training, PhD-students and postdoctoral researchers;
  • Guest lectures, panel discussions, teaching activities for professionals or general publics at Erasmus MC and elsewhere.
  • Basis Kwalificatie Onderwijs (BKO) [University Teaching Qualification] (2016)

Other positions

At Erasmus MC

  • Medisch-ethische toetsingscommissie (METC)
  • Commissie Medisch Ethische Vraagstukken (MEV) 
  • Strategic Communication Advisory Board (SCAR)


  • ELSI Servicedesk 
  • Ethics and Law working group at Vereniging voor Klinisch Genetici Nederland (VKGN)
  • Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren (MVI) Jong, NWO 
  • Commissie Bewaartermijn implantaatgegevens, Gezondheidsraad (2018-2019)


  • Independent Bioethics Advisory Committee [IBAC] at GE2P2 
  • Ethical Legal and Psychosocial Aspects of Transplantation (ELPAT) of the European Society for Organ Transplantation (ESOT)
  • Ethics advisor of numerous European research projects, including EPAD, AMYPAD, COSYN, MINDDS, EnGage, WEAKID, EUscreen

Scholarships, grants, and awards


  • KWF: Ethical access and reimbursement models for expensive new cancer treatments: How to reconcile diverging values? (2019)
  • NWO, Maatschappelijk Verantwoord Innoveren (MVI): Epigenome-wise: ethical, legal and societal issues of new assays for DNAmethylation in cancer diagnostics and screening. (2018)
  • ZonMw, Personalised Medicine: Consortium ethics and law of personalised medicine and next-generation sequencing. (2018)
  • BBMRI-NL, Voucher for biobank science: Guidelines for the detection, management and communication of incidental findings. (2016)
  • ZonMw, Ethics and Health: Towards an ethically robust scope of NIPT. (2016)
  • Erasmus MC Grants:to report or not to report? The ethics of broadening the scope of noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT). (2015)
  • NWO, MVI: Nice to meet? Meeting unmet medical needs: a social innovation to facilitate early access to investigational drugs. (2015)


  • WiRe fellowship, University of Münster (2019)
  • Female Career Development Programme, Erasmus MC (2018)


  • Netherlands Association for Community Genetics and Public Health Genomics (NACGG) Innovation Award (2012)
  • Talent programme of Nuffic (2005)