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Joanna Sax

Joanna Sax

E. Donald Shapiro Professor of Law

(619) 515-1555


Professor Joanna Sax is the E. Donald Shapiro Professor of Law.

Professor Sax’s research is at the nexus of law and science.  Her articles look at barriers to the advancement of science in the enactment and implementation of legal policies.  In addition, Professor Sax has a keen interest in understanding and analyzing the disconnect between an individual’s perception of risk and evidence-based assessment of risk.  In this vein, Professor Sax is widely recognized for her work on vaccine hesitancy and food policy, particularly FDA regulation of vaccines, dietary supplements, and genetically engineered food. 

Professor Sax combines her education with her legal background in her research and teaching. She has a JD and PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. After law school, Professor Sax was an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP, and is admitted to practice in California and the Ninth Circuit.

Professor Sax served as Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at California Western for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years. In fall 2016, she was a visiting faculty member at the James E. Rogers College of Law - University of Arizona.

While Professor Sax's core teaching interests mirror her research, she also enjoys teaching first-year students. In 2015, she authored an innovative online casebook for contracts published by ChartaCourse, which provides an interactive online environment at an attractively low cost to students.

In 2020, the student body honored Professor Sax with the Professor of the Year award.

  • JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine [Cell and Molecular Biology]
  • BS, University of Wisconsin [Zoology]
  • Contracts
  • Food Law
  • Health Law & Policy
  • Law, Science & Medicine
  • Torts
  • Trusts & Estates

View Professor Sax's SSRN Author Page.

Recent Publications

  • Joanna K. Sax and Neal Doran, COVID-19 Pediatric Vaccine Authorization, FDA Authority, and Individual Misperception of Risk, J. of L. & the Biosciences (forthcoming). 
  • Joanna K. Sax, International Regulation of Genetically Engineered Food, in Research Handbook on International Food Law (M. Roberts ed., Edgar Elgar Publ’g Ltd. 2023).
  • Joanna K. Sax and Neal Doran, Evaluation of Risk Perception of Smoking After the Implementation of California’s Tobacco 21 Law, 19 Int’l J. of Env’t Res. and Pub. Health 16971 (2022).
  • Joanna K. Sax, Genetically Engineered Food, Food Security, and Climate Change,  6 Bus., Entrepreneurship, & Tax L. Rev. 1 (2022). 
  • Joanna K. Sax, COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and (Mis)perception of Risk, 48 Am. J.L. & Med. 54 (2022).
  • Joanna Sax, Response to: A Telehealth Explosion: Using Lessons from the Pandemic to Shape the Future of Telehealth Regulation, 9 Texas A&M L. Rev. Arguendo 25 (2021) [].
  • Joanna K. Sax, The Problems with Decision-Making, 56 Tulsa L. Rev. 39 (2020).
  • Joanna K. Sax & Neal Doran, Ambiguity and Consumer Perceptions of Risk in Various Areas of Biotechnology, 42 J. Consumer Pol'y 47 (2019).
  • Edward L. Rubin & Joanna K. Sax, Administrative Guidance and Genetically Modified Food, 60 Ariz. L. Rev. 539 (2018).
  • Joanna K. Sax, Biotechnology and Consumer Decision-Making, 47 Seton Hall L. Rev. 433 (2017).
  • Joanna K. Sax & Neal Doran, Food Labeling and Consumer Associations with Health, Safety and Environment, 44 J.L. Med. & Ethics 680 (2016).
  • Steven H. Strauss & Joanna K. Sax, An End to Event-Based Regulation of GMO Crops, 34 Nature Biotechnology 474 (2016).