2021 INS Annual Meeting
Online Conference
November 4-5

Developing an Anti-Racist Neuroscience

Friday, November 5, 2021
12:00p EDT / 16:00 UTC

The increased pace of neuroscientific discovery is poised to transform medical practice and behavioral policy. People of color, however, are too often either ignored, misunderstood, or exploited in brain and behavioral science research.

This workshop will address a range of questions about how neuroscience should address issues of race, such as: How are biases encoding in studies themselves? Does diversifying researchers help hedge bets against bias in research design? How should researchers consider racial/ethnic differences, especially in light of racist historical origins of psychology and eugenics? How does one do neuroscience without being colorblind or racial essentialists? Are marginalized people targeted if they are the focus of research, or does ignoring them erase their existence?


  • Keisha S. Ray, University of Texas Health Science Center (United States)
  • Oliver Rollins, University of Washington (United States)
  • Ruth S. Shim, University of California, Davis (United States)
  • Moderator: Tim Brown, University of Washington (United States)


  • Prepared question prompts for speakers (20 minutes)
  • Open discussion guided by attendee questions (40 minutes)




Image of Keisha S. Ray
Keisha S. Ray

University of Texas Health Science Center

Keisha Ray, PhD, received her PhD in philosophy from the University of Utah and is currently an assistant professor with the McGovern Center for Humanities & Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. Most of Dr. Ray’s work focuses on the social and cultural determinants of Black people’s health, integrating race education into medical school curricula, and the ethics of biomedical enhancement. Dr. Ray also serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Bioethics blog site to which she is a regular contributor.

Image of Oliver Rollins
Oliver Rollins

Assistant Professor of American Ethnic Studies
University of Washington

Oliver Rollins an assistant professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington. His work interrogates how race and social difference influence the making and potential use of neuroscientific technologies and knowledges. Rollins’s book, 'Conviction: The Making and Unmaking of The Violent Brain' (Stanford University Press), traces the social implications of neuroimaging research on anti-social behaviors. Currently, he's working on a project that outlines ethical pitfalls and social promises of the 'neuroscience of race.' 

Ruth S. Shim

University of California, Davis


Image of Tim Brown
Tim Brown

University of Washington

Dr. Tim Brown is an Assistant Professor of Bioethics & Humanities at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine and a founding member of the Neuroethics Thrust within UW’s Center for Neurotechnology (CNT). His work explores the moral and interpersonal impact of machine-learning-driven brain–computer interfaces. His most recent investigations concern the potential for neural engineering and neuroscientific research to harm marginalized communities.