Frederick Grinnell (born 1945 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American cell biologist, also known for his work in bioethics. Currently, he is Robert McLemore Professor of Medical Science in the department of cell biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He took his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Clark University (1966) and Ph.D. in biochemistry at Tufts University (1970). He joined the faculty at UT Southwestern in 1972 and founded the Ethics in Science and Medicine Program and Ethics Grand Rounds in 1998.

     Grinnell's early scientific work contributed to the discovery of the biological adhesion protein fibronectin and helped to establish the importance of fibronectin in biomedical engineering and wound repair. Subsequently, his laboratory helped popularize the use of wound fluid to analyze the human wound environment and made the discovery that chronic wounds contain degraded fibronectin and high levels of proteolytic enzymes. In recent years, his research has focused on the use of three dimensional collagen matrices containing fibroblasts to learn about the mechanics of fibrous connective tissue.

     In bioethics, Grinnell engages in cross-disciplinary work at the boundary between science and philosophy. His goal is to inform public policy and to advance science education and public understanding of science. Grinnell's work in bioethics is centered in the sociology of knowledge, an approach developed through his studies with the phenomenologists Richard Zaner and Maurice Natanson. He has published two books: The Scientific Attitude, now is in its second edition; and Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic, which was a finalist in the 2010 Royal Society Book Prize competition.

     For publications and additional information see the Grinnell website.


Clark University (1966), Chemistry
Graduate School
Tufts University (1970), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • a) Science education
  • b) Research ethics
  • c) Philosophy of science
  • d) Fibronectin
  • e) Wound healing
  • f) Tissue engineering


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

The Scientific Attitude, 2nd Edition

Frederick Grinnell (1992). New York, Guilford Press

Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic

Frederick Grinnell (2009). New York, Oxford University Press

Honors & Awards

  • Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation -- Piper Professor
    Awarded (2017)
  • AAAS Fellow, Section on History and Philosophy of Science
    Elected (2012)
  • UT System Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award
    Recipient (2012)
  • Royal Society (UK) Science Book Prize
    Shortlist - Everyday Practice of Science (2010)
  • Gordon Research Conference on Science and Technology Policy
    Co-Chair (2006)
  • UT Southwestern Faculty Senate
    President (2006)
  • Gordon Research Conference on Wound Repair
    Chair (1999)
    Merit Award (1999)
  • The Hastings Center, Briarcliff Manor, NY
    Visiting Fellow (1990)
  • Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
    Forchheimer Visiting Professor (1988)
  • Weizmann Institute, Rehovot, Israel
    Meyerhoff Visiting Professor (1984)