Human Brain Organoids: the Science, the Ethics

Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3BD
June 1, 2018; 3:30–6:30pm (BST)

colorful image of organoid

Image Credit: Collin Edington and Iris Lee, Koch Institute MIT

This regional meeting is being organized jointly by the INS and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities.

INS hosts annual meetings and provides support for regional meetings organized by members and partners.

Human brain organoids, miniature 'brain structures' can be generated from stem cells. These have the capacity to produce new, complex and developing neuronal tissue and have the potential to provide neuroscientists with a different and maybe more useful model of parts of a functioning human brain than has ever before been possible.

Join us to find out more about how human brain organoids are being used in research, now and in the future. Contribute to discussions on the scientific, ethical and legal challenges that scientists and society must confront.

Speakers include:

  • Hank Greely, Stanford University (USA)
  • Madeline Lancaster, University of Cambridge (UK)
  • Julian Savulescu, University of Oxford (UK)

Tickets to this event are free, but you must register in advance. To register, please send an email to Elaine Snell (, including your name, title, affiliation, discipline, degree program / career stage (e.g. student, lecturer), university or institution, contact telephone number, and preferred email address.

The event will be chaired by Hannah Maslen, University of Oxford (UK), and is organized jointly by the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford and the International Neuroethics Society, with support from the European Dana Alliance for the Brain.


Event Program


3:30–3:40 PM

Welcome and Introductions

  • Hank Greely, President, International Neuroethics Society
  • Hannah Maslen, Deputy Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford


3:40–4:05 PM

Cerebral Organoids: Capabilities, Limitations, and Future Directions

  • Madeline Lancaster, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge Biomedical Campus


4:05–4:30 PM

Moral Status of Organoids

  • Julian Savulescu, Director, Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, University of Oxford


4:30–5:05 PM

Human Brain Organoids – Questions, Not (Yet) Answers

  • Hank Greely, Director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences, Stanford University
  • Questions (4:50 PM)


Tea Break (5:05–5:20 PM)


5:20–6:00 PM

Break-out Sessions

  • Group A: The science
  • Group B: The ethics and the law
  • Workshop leaders summarize the workshop conclusions (5:50 PM)



Panel and Audience Discussion



Closing Remarks



Wine Reception