Donna Dickenson was born and educated in New England. After an appointment as associate in research at Yale University, she held professorships at several U.K. universities. She is now professor emerita of medical ethics at the University of London and research associate at the Centre for Health, Law, and Emerging Technologies at the University of Oxford. Her book Body Shopping: Converting Body Parts to Profit was called "essential reading" by The Lancet and "ambitious and thoughtful" by New Scientist. In 2006, Dickenson was awarded the prestigious International Spinoza Lens award for her contribution to public debate on ethics, becoming the first and only woman to win the prize.