2017 Annual Meeting
Washington, DC, USA
November 9-10

Meeting Location

AAAS Building
1200 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20005

Entrance at 12th & H streets 

image of AAAS building from New York Ave NW

Meeting Program

Themed ‘Honouring our History, Forging our Future,’ the 2017 Annual Meeting of the International Neuroethics Society will gather a diverse group of scholars, scientists, clinicians, and professionals dedicated to the responsible use of advances in brain science. Join old friends and new colleagues for an intellectually stimulating and dynamic conference that pays homage to the first 15 years of neuroethics and highlights critical topics that will shape its future.


Thursday, November 9


1:00–1:05 PM

Welcome Address

  • Judy Illes, INS President
  • Cynthia Kubu, INS Program Committee Co-Chair


Plenary Lecture (1:05–1:35 PM)

Rémi Quirion

Quebec Chief Science Officer

Neuroethics: The Early Days and Global Challenges for Us All – The lecture will summarize the early days of neuroethics — including the decision by the institute of neuroscience, mental health and addiction of Canada to make it a priority niche area — and will also explore some of the key challenges of neuroethics in the post-truth and alternative facts era.

  • Introduction by Ariel Cascio, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal


Roundtable Discussion (1:35–2:50 PM)

Neuroscience, Communication, and Public Engagement

Every day, newspapers, television, radio and social media carry stories about the brain. Advances in neuroscience, mental health, new technology, neurodegeneration provide a rich resource for journalists and broadcasters. There is no doubt that people are fascinated by the brain in health and disease. As brain research finds its way into the classroom, office, courts and the home, how can experts stimulate public discussion and debate about the social, legal and ethical aspects and implications of brain research? What are the opportunities for scientists to communicate with the public? And what are the responsibilities today's experts have to get their message across in a meaningful way? For those just starting out in their careers, how can they get involved?

  • Joseph J. Fins, Weill Cornell Medical College
  • Tali Sharot, University College London
  • Ed Yong, The Atlantic
  • Moderated by Alan Leshner, AAAS Emeritus
  • Introduction by Elaine Snell, INS


Break (2:50–3:15 PM)


Panel Discussion (3:15–4:30 PM)

Ambassador Session: Reflecting on our International Roots and Planning our Collaborative Futures

The International Ambassador Program aims to facilitate greater global representation in the Society by recruiting leading scholars and thought leaders in neuroethics to act as liaisons between their respective local neuroethics efforts and the INS. Convening these leaders has become especially important as countries across the globe have made a clear priority to embed neuroethics scholarship and research in these projects or to emphasize its role in parallel. The program and annual meeting activities celebrate INS's commitment to international dialogue on critical issues at the intersection of neuroscience, society, and ethics. Panelists for this year's session include representatives from national-level funded project for neuroscience, as well as embedded ethicists within those projects, and will discuss how neuroethics questions addressed within each project reflect the cultural context of the countries in which they are situated. The session will serve as an idea incubator and include a group discussion for deeper, actionable collaboration across projects and across institutions.  

  • Karin Blumer, Ethics Advisory Board, Human Brain Project (European Union)
  • Jinni Jeong, Korea Brain Initiative (South Korea)
  • Richard Johnson, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (International)
  • Caroline Montojo, The Kavli Foundation (International)
  • Khara Ramos, Neuroethics Division of the BRAIN Multi-Council Working Group, NIH (United States)
  • Arleen Salles, Human Brain Project (European Union)
  • Moderator: Karen Rommelfanger, Emory University (United States)
  • Co-Moderator: Ariel Cascio, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (Canada)


Break (4:30–5:00 PM)


Public Program (5:00–7:00 PM)

To Tell the Truth!

This panel discussion is open to the public and was organized in collaboration with the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

  • Charles Dike, Yale University School of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Loftus, University of California, Irvine
  • Victoria Talwar, McGill University


7:00–8:00 PM

Evening Reception


Reservation (8:30 PM)

Affinity Group Dinners



Friday, November 10


7:30–8:30 AM

Breakfast / Poster Judging

During breakfast, judges will be evaluating poster presentations. Posters must be installed by 7:45 a.m. to be eligible for prizes, and investigators should be available during breakfast to give a 2-minute presentation for the judges. Contact INS staff to volunteer to serve as a judge.


8:30–8:45 AM

Welcome Address

  • Recap of Thursday’s sessions by Cynthia Kubu, INS Program Committee Co-Chair
  • Judy Illes, INS President, will present the Steven E. Hyman Award for Distinguished Service to the Field of Neuroethics in honor of the late William Safire, accepted by The Dana Foundation


Plenary Lecture (8:45–9:15 AM)

Arthur Caplan

New York University Langone Medical Center

Where the ethics are and ought to be – enhancement, diagnosis or treatment? – Much of neuroethics is focused on issues around enhancement and transhumanism. Too much in my view. The future of the field depends on engaging pressing diagnostic and therapeutic opportunities. Dystopian tomorrows are fun to speculate about, but neuroethics won't flourish if it is only seen as a branch of futurology.

  • Introduction by Rachel Wurzman, University of Pennsylvania


Roundtable Discussion (9:15–10:30 AM)

The Brain in Context

A multidisciplinary discussion of the brain in its physical and social environment. Brains exist not in static isolation, but in a constant state of neurodevelopment. Brain development is impacted by environmental factors, and the context of lived experience is embodied through the brain. The speakers on this panel will consider the impact of physical and social environments on the human brain, and the impact of the human brain on those environments in turn. In this way they explore how people and societies impact each other, and how brains develop across the lifecycle in a range of social environments.

  • Moriah Thomason, Wayne State University
  • Martha Farah, University of Pennsylvania
  • HerveĢ Chneiweiss, Ecole des Neurosciences de Paris
  • Moderated by Husseini Manji, Johnson & Johnson
  • Introduction by Marcello Ienca, University of Basel


Break (10:30–11:00 AM)


Roundtable Discussion (11:00 AM–12:15 PM)

Legal Responsibility, Agency, and Addiction Neuroethics: Reconciling Frameworks for Policymaking

The speakers on this panel will bring together medical, neurophilosophical, and judicial viewpoints to explore how neurological and biopsychosocial frameworks for addiction relate to legal constructs and social policies that assign responsibility. Understanding addiction as a brain-based disease presents unique challenges to the criminal justice system, which must assign responsibility and punishment for what amounts to the hallmark symptoms of an illness. Yet real-world alternatives to mandatory incarceration for drug-related criminal offenses, from drug courts that mandate treatment to full decriminalization, are also neuroethically fraught. For example, from both clinical and societal perspectives, it is problematic to absolve individuals of the consequences of their behavior; similarly, compulsory submission to treatment may violate patient autonomy and compromise treatment efficacy. Ultimately, the issue of addiction sits at the nexus of questions about moral agency, volition, autonomy, responsibility, and the distribution of justice under various social policies.

  • Rachel Wurzman, University of Pennsylvania Medical School
  • Jessica Birkett, University of Melbourne
  • Stephen J. Morse, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Moderated by Hans-Ulrich Wittchen, TU Dresden
  • Introduction by Edith Brignoni Pérez, Georgetown University


Lunch / Networking (12:15 AM–1:30 PM)

Mentoring Roundtables

During lunch, the INS Program and Student/Postdoc committees are hosting a mentoring roundtable activity. Mentors will lead an open discussion and provide insights and advice about writing, grant applications, and jobs / career tracks in the field of neuroethics. If you would like to participate as a mentor or mentee, please indicate your availability when registering for the meeting.


Concurrent PANEL Session II (1:30 PM–2:15 PM, AUDITORIUM)

Ethics of Neuroscience and Neurotechnology

  • Frederic Gilbert, University of Washington
  • Merlin Bittlinger, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Anna Wexler, University of Pennsylvania
  • Moderated by Tom Buller, Illinois State University


Concurrent PANEL Session I (1:30 PM–2:15 PM, REVELLE)

Neuroscience of the Law

  • Andreas Kuersten, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • N. Sinclair-House, University of Sussex
  • Lyn Gaudet, MINDSET
  • Moderated by Molly Crockett, University of Oxford


Rising Star Plenary Lecture (2:15–2:45 PM)

Karola Kreitmair

Stanford University

The Seven Requirements for Ethical Consumer Neurotechnologies – Kreitmair will outline seven criteria that she considers to be necessary and sufficient for the ethical development of neurotechnologies intended directly for consumers. She will then consider and provide responses to a number of objections.

  • Introduction by Christine Grady, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center


2:45–3:20 PM

Flash Poster Presentations

  • Matthew L Baum, Harvard Medical School
  • Laura Specker Sullivan, Harvard Medical School
  • Marcello Ienca, University of Basel
  • Cynthia Forlini, University of Sydney
  • Jennifer C. Sarrett, Emory University
  • Dylan Roskams-Edris, University of Calgary / University of British Columbia
  • Introductions by Veljko Dubljevic, North Carolina State University


3:20–4:20 PM

Poster Session and Networking

Please view the list of accepted abstracts for additional details.


Fred Kavli Distinguished Neuroethics Lecture (4:20–5:00 PM)

Patricia Churchland

University of California, San Diego, Emeritus

Neuroethics: Progress in Understanding our Social Lives – In the years since that first memorable neuroethics meeting in San Francisco in 2002, have we learned more about the brain basis for moral behavior? Yes, and remarkably so. Two lanes of brain research that are especially relevant to understanding the basis for morality have blossomed: first, social neuroscience is revealing the underpinnings of social bonding and why we trust and care about family and friends. This is the platform for morality. Secondly, research on the wiring supporting reinforcement learning is revealing how we acquire norms and values, along with the powerful feelings that accompany them and influence decisions. These are the social behaviors that take shape on the platform. What remains poorly understood is social problem solving — how social norms emerge or are modified in response to ecological and other pressures. These are the social institutions, from modest to monumental, that give direction and predictability in a culture.

  • Introduction by Philipp Kellmeyer, University of Freiburg Medical Center


5:00–6:00 PM

Business Meeting / Awards Presentation

  • Judy Illes, INS President


6:00–7:30 PM

Closing Reception



Attendees must register in advance or onsite to participate in this event.