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CNS News Archives

Kavli Foundation Round Table on Neurolaw (12/2011)
Last month the Kavli Foundation invited three neuroscientists to discuss the role of neuroscience in criminal law, two of whom are Center affiliates. Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and CNS Advisory Board Member and Martha Farah, CNS Director, were joined by Jay Giedd of NIMH, an expert on adolescent brain development.  The discussion, which ranged over criminal responsibility, therapeutic justice and the policy implications of neuroscience, can be found here:

The MacArthur Foundation establishes new Research Network on Law and Neuroscience (10/2011)
The MacArthur Foundation will continue its support of neurolaw by establishing a new Research Network on Law and Neuroscience.  Penn CNS faculty Morse and Farah are among the 12 members including law professors, neuroscientists, a philosopher and a judge.  The network's main goals are to help the legal system avoid misuse of neuroscientific evidence in criminal law contexts, and to explore ways to deploy neuroscientific insights to improve the fairness and effectiveness of the criminal justice system.  For more information, please see:

CNS Faculty Member receives Livengrin Honor (9/2011)
Dr. A. Thomas McLellan, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Penn Center for Substance Abuse Solutions in the Perelman School of Medicine, was honored with the 2011 S.F. Hansell Award for Excellence in Addiction Treatment from the Livengrin Foundation.  Every five years, Livengrin Foundation acknowledges and honors the exceptional work and commitment of a regional figure in addiction treatment.  Throughout the healthcare field, the Standish Forde Hansell Award (named for the organization's visionary founder) is held as one of the treatment field's most distinctive recognitions of achievement.  Additional Information on the Livengrid Foundation and award can be found at

LIVE CHAT: Brain Science & the Law (9/2011)
Join Science for an online chat at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 15 September, to ask law professor Owen Jones and Penn CNS Director Martha Farah about the promise and perils of using brain science in the name of justice. Before the live chat begins this Thurday, you can leave your questions in the comment box on this page.

CNS faculty members brief lawmakers on Capital Hill (7/2011)
Jonathan Moreno and Martha Farah will discuss the advances in neuroscience and their societal impact on Tuesday, July 26th, at the Rayburn House Office Building.  The briefing will be chaired by CNS Advisory Board member Alan Leshner, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, on behalf of AAAS and the House Armed Services Committee. UPDATE: Check out the briefing summary here

Robert DeRubeis joins CNS Faculty (7/2011)
Robert J. DeRubeis, PhD, the Samuel H. Preston Term Professor in the Social Sciences and Chair of the Department of Psychology, has joined the faculty of the Center for Neuroscience & Society.  Dr. DeRubeis is a leader in research on depression and its treatment.  His work has clarified the ways in which cognitive therapy works to combat depression as well as increasing our understanding of the effects of medical therapies for depression.  Dr. DeRubeis' work has broad implications for neuroscience and society and the CNS welcomes him to our Faculty.

CNS Associate Director Stephen Morse presented at the Second Raymond and Beverly Sackler Scientific Forum: Neuroscience and the Law (5/2011)
At the March Sackler Forum, CNS Associate Director Stephen Morse provided an excellent framework for thinking about responsibility and sentencing issues in criminal law. Check out the webcast here

CNS Faculty member John Tresch has received tenure from the University (5/2011)
CNS Faculty member John Tresch has received tenure from the University and promotion to Associate Professor in the Department of History and Sociology of Science.

Jonathan Moreno has been named to the Board of Directors of the International Neuroethics Society (3/2011)
The International Neuroethics Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars, scientists, clinicians and other professionals who share an interest in the social, legal, ethical and policy implications of advances in neuroscience. Jonathan Moreno will be joining Anjan Chatterjee, Stephen Morse, and Martha Farah on the Board of Directors.

CNS faculty to present at the first Law & the Brain Conference (3/2011)
The first Law & the Brain Conference, co-sponsored by Penn's CNS, will take place in New York City on March 15-16, 2011.  An exciting line-up of neuroscientists, psychologists, lawyers and judges, including CNS faculty members Farah, Langleben and Morse, will inaugurate a series of neurolaw conferences.

Martha Farah and Stephen Morse to present to The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues (2/2011)
President Obama's bioethics commission will begin an examination of the ethics of neuroimaging and CNS faculty members Farah and Morse will take part in the Commission's upcoming meeting, February 28-March 1, in Washington, DC.

UPDATE: Video footage from the live webcast of the February 28-March 1 meeting is now available online. To view Martha Farah's session, click here. For Stephen Morse's session, click here.

Arthur Caplan receives Patricia Price Browne Price in Bioemedia Ethics (11/2010)
Arthur L. Caplan, Ph.D., the Emmanuel and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania has been selected to receive the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics, administered by the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. The $10,000 prize, given every two years, was established to honor the Oklahoma City community leader Patricia Price Browne, by selecting an individual who “demonstrates the highest standards in the medical or professional ethics fields.” Click here for the Press Release.

Adrian Raine featured on Nightline (8/2010)
In a television interview with ABC's Nightline, CNS faculty member, Adrian Raine, discusses his research on the brains of people who have been scientifically determined to be psychopaths.  To view the show, click here.

Anjan Chatterjee to join the Board of the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (8/2010)
CNS Associate Director, Anjan Chatterjee, was selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the International Association of Empirical Aesthetics (IAEA).  The IAEA was founded as a union of psychologists who investigate the underlying factors that contribute to an aesthetic experience, as well as aesthetic behaviors, using scientific methods.

Sheryl Williams elected to the Board of the Alzheimer's Association (8/2010)
CNS Director of Neuroscience Policy, Sheryl Williams, has been elected to the Board of the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter.  The Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter serves Southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware. It is the local chapter of the National Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, an alliance of family members and professionals dedicated to helping people with Alzheimer’s disease and their families through education, advocacy, and support.

Robert Sadoff to receive The Presidents Award from the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society (8/2010)
The Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society , a District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association, represents and serves the profession of psychiatry in Pennsylvania. A non-profit professional association, its 1800 members are physicians practicing the medical specialty of psychiatry. The Society addresses a wide spectrum of issues affecting psychiatrists and persons receiving psychiatric services. It also addresses general medical and mental health issues.  The award ceremony will take place at the PPS dinner on November 6, 2010.

Martha Farah will join American Academy of Arts and Sciences (4/2010)
The Academy of Arts and Sciences, established in 1780 by John Adams and other founders of the nation, undertakes studies of complex and emerging problems.  In addition to Martha Farah, this year's inductees include comedian Steve Martin, whose films "The Man with Two Brains" and "All of Me" were prescient explorations of neuroethical themes in the 1980's.  A complete list of new AMACAD Fellows can be found at:

Chatterjee and Farah to help draft guidelines on cognitive enhancement (4/2010)
The American Academy of Neurology has convened a panel of experts, including two Penn CNS faculty, to develop evidence-based guidelines for prescribing cognitive enhancing medications to healthy patients.  Anjan Chatterjee and Martha Farah will work with other panel members under the aegis of the AAN, to review the relevant clinical and epidemilogical literature and formulate recommendations for use in clinical practice.

Jason Karlawish selected for RWJ Investigator Award in Health Policy Research (1/2010)
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded Dr. Jason Karlawish with an Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.  This award supports highly-respected and innovative scholars from a wide range of fields to undertake ambitious, cutting-edge studies of significant health policy challenges facing America. This prestigious and highly-competitive program provides one of the few funding opportunities for outstanding researchers throughout the stages of their careers to explore bold new ideas for improving the nation's health or health care system. Funded projects produce enduring insights and sophisticated analyses of pressing problems, potential solutions for improving health and health care, and evidence that can help inform policymakers, the media, and the public.  More information on the Investigator Awards can be found here.

Susan Schneider wins essay award (12/2009)
The Swiss Society for Biomedical Ethics awarded Dr. Susan Schneider with the Future of Bioethics Essay Award for her neuroethics essay, "Transforming and Enhancing the Human Brain."  The essay was adapted from her book, Science Fiction and Philosophy. To read the award-winning essay,  click here.

Martha Farah elected to Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives
The Dana Foundation is a private philanthropy with principal interests in brain science, immunology, and arts education.  The Alliance for Brain Initiatives is a nonprofit organization of 260 eminent neuroscientists committed to advancing public awareness about the progress and benefits of brain research and to disseminating information on the brain in an understandable and accessible fashion.  Martha J. Farah, PhD, Academic Director at the Center for Neuroscience & Society has been elected to join this prestigious group of scientists.

For more information on the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives, visit:

Penn CNS faculty member joins IOM Neuroscience Forum
The Institute of Medicine's Neuroscience Forum brings together leading researchers, policymakers and stakeholders to identify and address important new issues concerning the brain.  Penn's own Jonathan Moreno, the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor of Medical Ethics and the History and Sociology of Science, has been tapped to bring his expertise on neuroscience and society to this august group.More at:

Penn professor mines science fiction for insights on neuroscience and society
Philosophy professor Susan L. Schneider has just published Science Fiction and Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), a book of readings by herself and others that examine classic science fiction stories as thought experiments that address philosophical issues such as the nature of persons, minds and brains, transhumanism, and the ethics of artificial intelligence and neuroscience.

Penn hosts neuroethics discussion with the London School of Economics
Two sociologists from the LSE’s BIOS Centre and Neuroscience & Society Network visited Penn this month. Professor Nikolas Rose, Director of the BIOS Centre and author of “Neurochemical Selves,” came to Penn for the day to discuss neuroethical issues in psychopharmacology. Scott Vrecko also returned for the occasion. Along with Jonathan Moreno, John Tresch and Martha Farah, they participated in a morning panel discussion attended by the Penn community, followed by an afternoon of continued informal discussion.

Overwhelming interest in Neuroscience Boot Camp!
We received over 80 applications for our intensive summer institute by the application deadline this month. The applicants are an impressive group of mostly university faculty and professionals, along with some graduate students. They come from the social sciences, humanities, business, law, journalism and theology.

Hastings Center Project on “Interpreting Neuroimages” meets at Penn
Penn hosted the first meeting of Erik Parens’ and Josie Johnston’s Dana-funded project on the 4th through 6th of this month. It was a lively three days, with neuroscientists, statisticians, philosophers, lawyers and journalists exploring the vast and sometimes bumpy landscape of issues concerning the way scientists and laypeople interpret brain images.

Nature paper on brain enhancement policy
Penn neuroethicist Martha Farah joined with an international group of colleagues to formulate recommendations concerning an appropriate societal response to the growing trend toward brain enhancement by the healthy: Greely, H., Sahakian, B., Harris, J., Kessler, R., Gazzaniga, M.S., Campbell, P. & Farah, M.J. (2008). Towards Responsible Use of Cognitive Enhancing Drugs by the Healthy. Nature, Published online 7 December 2008.

President's Council on Bioethics Review Team Lead (11/2008)
Jonathan D. Moreno, the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor of Ethics and Professor of Medical Ethics and of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania has been selected to lead the President-elect's Council on Bioethics Review Team.

We’re at the first annual Neuroethics Society meeting! (11/2008)
This is a milestone for the development of our field – a meeting with almost 150 participants from around the world! Penn neuroethicists are there, helping organize it, giving talks, listening to talks, and celebrating this wonderful gathering of neuroethics colleagues from far and wide. Sheri Alpert, Anjan Chatterjee, Martha Farah, Daniel Langleben, Jonathan Moreno and Stephen Morse are all there!

Announcing the Penn Neuroscience Boot Camp!
Good neuroethics requires a basic understanding of neuroscience. The Penn Neuroethics Program aims to raise the level of neuroscience expertise among neuroethicists, as well as scholars and practitioners in a number of other neuro-hyphen fields.

Welcome, Scott Vrecko of the London School of Economics (10/2008)
Sociologist Scott Vrecko will be visiting Penn for three months to investigate the standpoint ethics of student stimulant use.

Neuroethicist joins the Penn faculty (7/2008)
Geoffrey Goodwin will join the Psychology Department and Neuroethics Program at Penn after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton University. Our newest Assistant Professor investigates the psychology of moral reasoning, and has recently focused on people’s moral intuitions about brain enhancement.

Sahakian to visit Penn Neuroethics Program as a Penn Distinguished International Scholar
Professor Barbara Sahakian of the University of Cambridge, an authority on psychopharmacology and cognitive enhancement, will spend two weeks at Penn as one of the university’s Distinguished International Scholars. Barbara’s visit, to be scheduled for 2009, will include extensive opportunities to interact with Penn students in classes and other events. Both students and faculty are eagerly awaiting her visit!

Science Progress, a new journal edited by Penn neuroethicist
Penn neuroethicist Jonathan Moreno is the Editor-in-Chief of a new magazine on science, policy and ethics, dedicated to “the propositions that scientific inquiry is among the finest expressions of human excellence, that it is a crucial source of human flourishing, a critical engine of economic growth, and must be dedicated to the common good. Scientific inquiry entails global responsibilities. It should lead to a more equitable, safer, and healthier future for all of humankind.” Neuroethics is among the topics covered by Science Progress, a project of the Center for American Progress, a Washington, DC-based think tank. Science Progress, which includes a blog, columns, longer articles, interviews and book review, has been online since October 2007 and makes its print debut in April of 2008.

Penn neuroethicists discuss neuroscience and the law on National Public Radio's Justice Talking
Check out the fascinating show on “Neurolaw: The New Frontier,” in which Penn’s Stephen Morse and Paul Root Wolpe discuss the use and misuse of neuroscience in legal contexts. The show can be heard here

David Kopf Neuroethics Lecture at SfN given by Penn Professor
Penn’s Martha Farah delivered the annual David Kopf Neuroethics Lecture to an audience of 3,000 neuroscientists at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego. In the lecture, “21st Century Neuroscience: From Lab and Clinic to Home, School and Office,” Martha argued that neuroscience is increasing being applied to nonmedical problems, a development that is almost without precedent in previous centuries. She presented examples of neuroscience applications in education, law and corrections, marketing, entertainment and warfare, and discussed the new challenges that these developments present us with as a society.

Penn Bioethics Journal and Neuroethics Society announce Undergraduate Prize
The Penn Bioethics Journal, an undergraduate journal publishing the work of students from around the world, has partnered with the Neuroethics Society to offer the first Undergraduate Writing Prize in Neuroethics. More information about the journal and the prize are available here.

Penn participates in new MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project

Penn neuroethicists are among the distinguished group of scientists, legal scholars, jurists, and philosophers from across the country who will help integrate new developments in neuroscience into the U.S. legal system. The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Law and Neuroscience Project is the first systematic effort to bridge the fields of law and neuroscience, supported by an initial, three-year $10 million grant from the foundation. Based at UC Santa Barbara, the project consists of three working groups, one of which is co-directed by Stephen Morse and includes Martha Farah, Chuck O'Brien, Amy Wax, and Adrian Raine. Our working group will focus on issues of responsibility in the context of neuroscience’s growing understanding of addiction and the neural determinants of behavior in normal and drug-addicted individuals.

Penn neuroethicists featured in Wired Science TV program on Brain-based Lie Detection

The new Wired Science PBS television program took a critical look at the use of fMRI for lie detection. Interviewed for the show were three Penn Neuroethics Program faculty members: Martha Farah, Daniel Langleben, and Paul Wolpe. You can watch the show here.

Two new faculty bolster Penn Neuroethics Program
As part of Penn’s new “Penn Integrates Knowledge” program, the university has recruited two interdisciplinary scholars whose work encompasses important issues in neuroethics.

Jonathan Moreno joined the Departments of Medical Ethics and History and Sociology of Science as the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor earlier this year. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Psychology from Hofstra University in 1973, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Washington University in 1977. Before coming to Penn he was a professor of biomedical ethics and director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at the University of Virginia. In addition to his appointment at Penn, Jonathan is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D. C., and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. Jonathan’s recent work focuses on two emerging issues in neuroethics: the role of the military in funding, influencing and applying neuroscience research, and the novel ethical issues arising in connection with human-nonhuman neural chimera.

Adrian Raine joined the Departments of Criminology and Psychiatry as the Richard Perry University Professor. He received his bachelors and masters degrees in experimental psychology from Oxford University and his doctorate in psychology from York University. Before his arrival at Penn, he was a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California. He is internationally renowned for his integration of biological and social perspectives on the prediction and explanation of violent behavior. His discoveries have identified brain structures, nutritional influences, genetic factors and social environments that foster violent criminal tendencies. Adrian is continuing his work on the neurobiology of antisocial behavior, including investigations of the neural bases of normal and abnormal moral reasoning, and the ethical, legal and social implications of “neurocriminology.”

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