2020 INS Annual Meeting
Virtual Conference
October 22-23

Meeting Program

This year's meeting theme is 'Our Digital Future: Building Networks Across Neuroscience, Technology and Ethics.' Sessions will address the many areas in which brain technologies and data concerning the brain are developed, deployed, utilized and regulated. Registration is open.



Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute
The Kavli Foundation
Center for Neuroscience & Society, University of Pennsylvania

Registration Waivers

IBRO: International Brain Research Organization
Wellcome Centre of Ethics and Humanities

Prize Donors


Meeting Times

All meeting activities will be conducted online and held synchronously during the timezones listed in the tables below. Session times listed throughout the agenda are U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).




PDT / 9:00 am-3:00 PM

EDT / 12:00-6:00 PM

ART / 1:00-7:00 PM

BRT / 1:00-7:00 PM

BST / 5:00-11:00 PM

CEST / 6:00 PM-12:00 AM

SAST / 6:00 PM-12:00 AM

IST / 9:30 PM-3:30 AM

KST / 1:00-7:00 AM

JST / 1:00-7:00 AM

AEST / 3:00-9:00 AM




PDT / 8:00 am-2:00 PM

EDT / 11:00 AM-5:00 PM

ART / 12:00-6:00 PM

BRT / 12:00-6:00 PM

BST / 4:00-10:00 PM

CEST / 5:00-11:00 PM

SAST / 5:00-11:00 PM

IST / 8:30 PM-2:30 AM

KST / 12:00-6:00 AM

JST / 12:00-6:00 AM

AEST / 2:00-8:00 AM

Agenda Day 1

PLENARY SESSION / 12:00-1:00 pm EDT


Leveraging Neuroethics in the Pursuit of Justice and Equity

A recent surge in awareness of systemic racism and long-standing injustice has renewed efforts worldwide to advance social progress. Lead discussants Nita Farahany, INS President, and Ilina Singh, INS Secretary/Treasurer, will canvas how the neuroethics community and its practitioners can foster an inclusive and diverse culture, and collectively advance justice and equity through their contributions to neuroscience and society.


This session will feature small group discussions to examine the role of neuroethics in addressing racial and social inequity, including inequities exposed by the global pandemic. These breakout discussions will reflect on how neuroethics as a field can respond to these challenges.


INS members and meeting attendees will identify the essential themes and questions for this session. Please take a moment when completing the meeting registration, or through our online form, to recommend discussion topics and to volunteer, or nominate an attending colleague, to serve as a discussion leader. Discussion leaders will facilitate conversation and give a brief concluding summary to the full session.




Break / 1:00-1:30 PM EDT


Concurrent Sessions / 1:30-2:30 PM EDT


Governing Brain Data in the Infosphere

This session aims to broaden the discussion on international governance of brain data and the use of big data analytics in neuroscience. Special focus will be given to non-medical uses such as direct-to-consumer neurotechnology. The panelists will explore, among many topics, potential conflicts of data sharing and privacy; potential divergences between different stakeholder perspectives; confidentiality issues arising from data use for medical informatics and private ventures; and cultural views on mental privacy.


  • Ciro Colombara, Lawyer, RCZ Law Firm (Chile), Pro Bono Network of the Americas
  • Mary Lou Jepsen, Openwater (United States)
  • Rafael Yuste, Columbia University (United States)


Prospects for AI-Enabled Diagnostic Imaging

Long considered unrealistic, brain imaging for the purpose of psychiatric diagnosis appears more plausible with applications of artificial intelligence, leading to questions about its possibility to aid in differential diagnosis and treatment response. The following panelists will examine the state of the technology and likely challenges, the ethical concerns that may arise when applied to psychiatric diagnosis, and how diagnostic systems and conceptions of psychiatric disorders may change.


  • Vince Calhoun, Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science (United States)
  • Martha Farah, University of Pennsylvania (United States)
  • Stephanie Hare, University of Maryland, Baltimore (United States)
  • Steven Hyman, Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at Broad Institute (United States)


Linking Social Justice and Brain Injuries Through Theology

Religious and theological traditions of ethics provide an opportunity to expand and enrich approaches to social justice in neuroethics, particularly in the context of brain injury and disorders of consciousness. The following panelists will examine how different religious traditions approach ethical issues surrounding brain injuries through a social justice lens.


  • Muhammad Mansur Ali, Cardiff University (United Kingdom)
  • Ira Bedzow, New York Medical College (United States)
  • Francisca Cho, Georgetown University (United States)
  • Patrick Smith, Duke University (United States)


BREAK / 2:30-3:00 PM EDT




Career Tracks in Neuroethics
  • Marcello Ienca, ETH Zurich (Switzerland)
  • Khara Ramos, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (United States) 
  • Francis Shen, University of Minnesota (United States)
  • Yolonda Wilson, National Humanities Center / Encore Public Voices (United States)


Securing Funding and Grants
  • Laura Cabrera, Michigan State University (United States)
  • Judy Illes, Neuroethics Canada (Canada)
  • Jonathan Pugh, University of Oxford (United Kingdom) 


Science Communication and Outreach

Details to be announced




Research Presentations

The following investigators will contribute a 10-minute recorded presentation of their research and spend 5 minutes answering questions. Each concurrent session will include four investigators.


  • Cassandra Thomson, Monash University (Australia)
  • Ishan Dasgupta, University of Washington (United States)
  • Emily Castillo, Michigan State University (United States)
  • Lavina Kalwani, Rice University (United States)


  • Abigail Presley, North Carolina State University (United States)
  • Jonathan Pugh, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
  • Saskia Hendriks, National Institutes of Health (United States)
  • Jayashree Dasgupta, Sangath / Samvedna Senior Care (India)


  • Karen Deborah Davis, Krembil Brain Institute / University of Toronto (Canada)
  • Fenella McLuskie, Harvard Law School (United States)
  • Natalie M. Lane, NHS Lanarkshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
  • Abel Wajnerman Paz, Universidad Alberto Hurtado (Chile)


Research Discussions / 5:00-6:00 PM EDT


Research Cohorts / Poster Viewing
  • Investigators may schedule small-group discussions at these times, coordinating with their assigned mentor and research cohort members. 
  • Attendees are encouraged to browse abstracts, posters, and video presentations of scholarship accepted to the meeting.



Agenda Day 2


Research Discussions / 11:00AM–12:00PM EDT


Research Cohorts / Poster Viewing
  • Investigators may schedule small-group discussions at these times, coordinating with their assigned mentor and research cohort members. 
  • Attendees are encouraged to browse abstracts, posters, and video presentations of scholarship accepted to the meeting.




Charting the Path to Ethical Neurotechnology

Neurotechnology is rapidly advancing. New consumer products and therapeutic applications of brain–computer interfaces in particular are forcing an industry to navigate ethical concerns such as data protection, consent, and accountability without clear guidelines or standards. This conversation with leaders of neurotechnology companies will examine issues raised by advancing device technologies and their potential applications, as well as look at opportunities to increase interdisciplinary collaboration.


  • Mark Chevillet, Facebook (United States)
  • Ana Maiques, Neuroelectrics (Spain)
  • Dan Rizzuto, Nia Therapeutics (United States)
  • Nicole Martinez-Martin, Stanford University (United States)
  • Anna Wexler, University of Pennsylvania (United States)


Break / 1:00-1:30 PM EDT


Concurrent Sessions / 1:30-2:30 PM EDT


Policing, Neurotechnology, and the Search for Truth

Over the past decade, brain-based methods of detecting lies and autobiographical memories have been introduced in neuroscience labs and applied police investigations in multiple countries. In this session forensic practitioners, scientists, and ethics and legal scholars will examine from their different perspectives the latest technologies — including electroencephalogram (EEG) memory detection — and debate if these tools can be applied fairly and ethically to aid accuracy and promote justice in police investigations and legal adjudication.


  • Nahari Galit, Bar Ilan University (Israel)
  • Federica Coppola, Columbia University (United States)
  • Emily Murphy, UC Hastings Law (United States)


Life and Health Decisions with Experimental Brain Implants

Trials researching effective treatments for psychiatric and neurological ailments are increasingly using experimental devices implanted into the brain to record signals and stimulate activity. After the study, the fate of the device can lead to complex dilemmas: for patients faced with uncertain risks and benefits; for investigators concerned with long-term care and outcomes; and for ethicists tasked with determining responsibility and establishing an appropriate course of care. Panelists will attempt to find consensus about patient care and device management after brain implant trials.


  • Helen Mayberg, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (United States)
  • Saskia Hendriks, National Institutes of Health (United States)
  • Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz, Baylor College of Medicine (United States)


Challenges of Artificial Intelligence and Neuroscience to Democracy

The possibilities offered by the combined insights of artificial intelligence and neuroscience raise profound questions for democracy. It’s critical to ask if AI–neuroscience technologies and their applications might be able to improve democracy, encourage greater participation in public discourse, jeopardize the opinion-building process, or challenge our understanding of self-governance. Leading experts in artificial intelligence, big data neuroscience, democratic theory, and social studies of science will lead an open discussion on these issues.


  • Alan Evans, McGill University (Canada)
  • Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School (United States)
  • Ralf J. Jox, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
  • Melanie Mitchell, Portland State University / Santa Fe Institute (United States)
  • Eric Racine, Montreal Clinical Research Institute (Canada)


BREAK / 2:30-3:00 PM EDT


Session / 3:00-4:00 PM EDT


Neuroethics in a Time of Crisis

A fuller understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on the brain, and associated neurological and mental health impacts, is still emerging. At the same time, the pandemic has raised difficult ethical questions in terms of triage and allocation of scarce resources for people with neurological and mental health conditions, as well as issues related to telehealth. This panel brings together experts in neurology, psychiatry, and ethics who will address these complex ethical issues affecting people with neurological and mental health disorders during the pandemic.


  • Christine Grady, NIH Department of Bioethics (United States)
  • Pietro Pietrini, Scuola IMT Alti Studi Lucca (Italy)
  • Michael Rubin, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (United States)
  • Introductions: Philipp Kellmeyer, University of Freiburg (Germany)
  • Moderator: Karola Kreitmair, University of Wisconsin–Madison (United States)




Image of Ruha Benjamin
Ruha Benjamin

Associate Professor of African American Studies, Princeton University

Founding Director, Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab


Race to the Future? Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, technology has the potential to hide, speed, and deepen discrimination, while appearing neutral and even benevolent when compared to racist practices of a previous era. In this talk, Ruha Benjamin explores a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity — what she terms the 'New Jim Code.' This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight in the context of neuroscience. It will also consider how race itself is a kind of tool designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, Ruha challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.


Ruha Benjamin is Associate Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book 'Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code.' For more info visit: ruhabenjamin.com.