Scholars from other institutions come to Penn’s Center for Neuroscience & Society for visits of a few weeks or months to carry out research, write or teach.
Dr. Vrecko completed his undergraduate (BA, Hons, Sociology and Hons, Political Science) and masters (MA, Sociology) degrees at the University of British Columbia. He obtained a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics in 2006, which was undertaken at the BIOS Centre. During his PhD and a subsequent ESRC postdoctoral fellowship, his research focused on issues relating to drug use and addiction in order to examine the interactions between knowledge, culture and power in contemporary science and society.
Dr. Vrecko has spent several years studying addiction and its related social, legal, and ethical problems. He focuses in particular on the contributions that the neurosciences have made in changing understandings about the biological basis of addiction, and ways of treating compulsive behaviors. He is an Advisory Expert to the European Neurosciences and Society Network, and has current research projects that focus on medication development and regulation, especially in relation to psychotropic drugs
Barbara J. Sahakian
October-November, 2009, Distinguished International Scholar Program
Dr. Sahakian has an international reputation in the fields of cognitive psychopharmacology, neuroethics, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatry and neuroimaging. She is co-inventor of the CANTAB computerised neuropsychological tests, which are in use world-wide. She is probably best known for her research work on cognition and depression, cognitive enhancement using pharmacological treatments, neuroethics and early detection of Alzheimer's disease. She has over 200 publications covering these topics in scientific journals, including Science, Nature Neuroscience, The Lancet, British Medical Journal, Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, the Journal of Neuroscience, Brain, Psychopharmacology and Psychological Medicine. Her current research investigates the neurochemical modulation of impulsive and compulsive behavior in neuropsychiatric disorders, such as unipolar and bipolar depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
From November 2005 she began a four-year appointment to the Committee of Women in Neuroscience for the Society for Neuroscience (SFN, USA). In 2006 she began her appointment on the Medical Research Council Neurosciences and Mental Health Board. Also this year, she was appointed to the Executive Committee of the newly formed Neuroethics Society and is on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Bioethics - Neuroscience.
Dr. Focquaert has a Master’s degree in ‘Moral Sciences’ (2001), ‘Logic, History and Philosophy of Science (2002)’ and ‘Conflict and Development’ (2003) (Ghent University). In 2007, she obtained a PhD in Philosophy on the philosophy, psychology and neuroscience of mindreading (Ghent University). She is affiliated to the Department of Philosophy and Moral Sciences at Ghent University. She was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Dartmouth College (2005-06) and participated in their Summer Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience (2005). She is a Research Fellow of the Research Foundation- Flanders, and a member of the Moral Brain research group.
Her current research, situated in the field of neuroethics, focuses on the philosophical and ethical issues surrounding neuromodulation research and treatment for psychiatric conditions (e.g., questions related to personal identity, the mind-body problem and criminal behavior).
Dr. Gromet received her PhD in Psychology from Princeton University in 2009. Her research has focused on what influences people's responses to wrongdoing and their support for different ways of achieving justice. Her dissertation research investigated how attentional factors, as well as people's stable characteristics, influence their preferences for both retributive justice (punishing the wrong that has been committed) and restorative justice (repairing the harm that has been caused by crime). Dr. Gromet is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with the MacArthur Law and Neuroscience Project. Her research examines how lay people (i.e., potential jurors and voters) view the use of neuroscience in the legal domain, including how the presentation of neuroscientific evidence affects how people view offenders and their treatment by the criminal justice system. In addition, Dr. Gromet is also interested in the implications of neuroscience for the role of self-control in the law.
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