David S. Wendler, M.A., Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Department of Bioethics

NIH Clinical Center

Building 10, Room 1C118
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20814



Research Topics

Dr. David Wendler's current work focuses on the ethics of research and care with individuals who are unable to provide informed consent. He has written widely on such topics as assent in pediatric research, assessing research risks systematically, research with stored biological samples, and protecting communities in biomedical research from exploitation.

Dr. Wendler is an attending on the Bioethics Consultation Service and a member of the IRB for the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Actively sought out as a consultant and scholar, he has consulted on minimal risk for the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections, on research with wards of the state for the Division of AIDS of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and pediatric research for the Institute of Medicine. He also has been a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia, and has lectured at the University of Bergen's School of Medicine in Norway, Georgetown University, and at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.


Dr. Wendler earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Pennsylvania and his master's and doctoral degrees at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He came to NIH in 1993 as a postdoctoral fellow with the Clinical Bioethics Program and became head of the Unit on Vulnerable Populations in 1996. He was a University fellow in Ethics at Harvard University from 2006 to 2007. He was named a senior investigator in 2014 and became head of the section on Research Ethics.

Selected Publications

  1. Mintz K, Jardas E, Shah S, Grady C, Danis M, Wendler D. Enrolling Minors in COVID-19 Vaccine Trials. Pediatrics. 2021;147(3).
  2. Iyer AA, Millum J, Grady C, Wendler D. Avoiding exploitation in multinational covid-19 vaccine trials. BMJ. 2021;372:n541.
  3. Schupmann W, Li X, Wendler D. Acceptable Risks in Pediatric Research: Views of the US Public. Pediatrics. 2022;149(1).
  4. Wendler D. Promoting the Values for Surrogate Decision-making. JAMA. 2022;328(3):243-244.

Related Scientific Focus Areas

This page was last updated on Wednesday, August 2, 2023