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Beyond the BRAIN Initiative: Challenges and Opportunities for Neuroethics

Special Presentation by

Khara Ramos, PhD
Director of the Neuroethics Program at NINDS, NIH liaison to the NIH BRAIN Neuroethics Working Group, and Chief of Neuroscience Content and Strategy in the NINDS Office of Neuroscience Communications and Engagement


Khara Ramos (NINDS Neuroethics Director) will discuss the NIH's commitment to neuroethics, as well as challenges from the perspective of funding agencies. At present, oversight and regulation of neuroscientific and neurotechnological advances is a patchwork that includes the FDA, local IRBs, and peer review of grants and publications. In novel and rapidly-evolving scientific domains, it is unclear whether broad ethical standards and guidance should be sought from funders, regulators or researchers themselves, and it is also unclear how to incorporate patient and participant perspectives. A further challenge is how to fund research in neuroethics to answer questions raised by new scientific advances and to integrate best practices into new domains of research; this also introduces problems of coordination at NIH given the various Institutes and Centers engaged in neuroscience. These ethical questions may go beyond biomedical contexts (e.g., potentially involving direct-to-consumer, law enforcement, and military applications), and also include issues of distributive justice that have often been less emphasized in bioethics.

Event Details

  • Junfeng Lu
  • Marc Turner

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