Amanda Odell-West


  • Lecturer in Law, Law

Personal profile


Before reading law at Sheffield University, Amanda was an experienced critical care nurse working on a cardiovascular genetics programme at Sheffield University. Amanda's doctoral thesis was based on empirical work with medical practitioners concerning the relevance of the medical exclusion in patent law. During this time she was a lead researcher on government use of patents commissioned by the Canadian Department of Health. After completing her PhD she took up a lectureship in intellectual property law at Manchester University and has served as a member of the education committee of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA, London). Amanda is a member of the CSEP research centre and currently teaches undergraduate and postgraduate intellectual property law and torts.

Research interests

(1) The prohibition against “use” of human embryos on the basis of the embryo's moral status in patent law sits uncomfortably with what is widely considered its ethical "use" (including destruction) in other areas. For example, the approach to human embryo use in scientific research is tangential to that developed in patent jurisprudence, although the former “use” accords with widely shared ethical principles in science and medicine as represented by the “14-day rule”. The rule was recommended in the Warnock Report (1984) and has since formed part of the regulations of the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as amended) until the present date. The expanding fertility industry also uses human embryos (within the patent law meaning of "use") for the provision of fertility services pursuant to contractual arrangements. The question I explore is whether the 14-day rule for research on pre-implantation human embryos ought to apply to permit the patentability of a wider range of innovation in embryonic stem cell science to benefit society, or whether the principle of human dignity precludes such a bold suggestion?

(2) A lack of conceptual or philosophical direction regarding the regulation of whole areas of fertility treatment is complicated by embryonic mosaicism, a phenomenon that has caused a paradigm shift in the classification of embryos for use in IVF treatment. My research considers the law's response to the expanded role of preimplantation genetic screening as an advanced form of embryo selection, offered as part of commercial fertility services in the UK.


Amanda welcomes applications for supervision from prospective PhD students.


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 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Should the medical exclusion within patent law be amended or removed?, The University of Sheffield

Award Date: 25 Nov 2005

Areas of expertise

  • K Law (General)


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