Debra JH Mathews is Appointed President of the INS

November 1, 2023

The Board of Directors of the International Neuroethics Society (INS)  appointed Debra JH Mathews to serve as president for a 2-year term beginning on October 25 at the conclusion of the annual Business Meeting of the Society. The president serves as chair of the 15-member Board and guides efforts to achieve the mission of the Society to encourage and inspire research and dialogue on the responsible use of advances in brain science.

Mathews is the Associate Director for Research and Programs at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Professor in the Department of Genetic Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has been an active member of the INS since 2006, a Board member since 2015, and is now the seventh president since its incorporation in 2008.

"I stepped forward for consideration for this role, not only out of a sense of duty to this organization that's been such a critical part of my professional life literally from the beginning, and from which I've received so much, but also because I hope that I have something to offer," said Mathews last week during a brief address.

During the remarks, broadcast virtually, she outlined several priorities she intends to champion during her presidency. Her focus includes:

  • Undertaking important inward facing and outward facing work on inclusion, diversity, anti-racism and equity;
  • Growing and supporting a pipeline of diverse junior scholars who want to grow from membership, to engaged involvement, and into leadership positions;
  • Strengthening and creating robust connections between the INS and institutions and organizations representing allied fields and scholars.

"I'd like to see the field, and INS — having grown and matured over the last 15 years plus — reach out more, not only to neuroscientists, but also to other areas of science and technology, including genetics, stem cell science, AI, and other subspecialties within bioethics and beyond," said Mathews. A video of her address is included as a chapter in the Business Meeting recording.

Other members of the Board continuing appointments are Laura Cabrera, Philipp Kellmeyer, Anna Wexler, and Joseph J. Fins. They are joined by two incoming appointees to the Board, Timothy Emmanuel Brown and Marcello Ienca, who are beginning 3-year appointments. Ending a term on the Board this year is Karen Herrera Ferrá. Mathews takes over the role of President from Joseph J. Fins, who will continue for 1 year in the role of Immediate Past President. Other former presidents of the INS include: Nita Farahany (2019-2021), Hank Greely (2017–2019); Judy Illes (2016–2017); Barbara Sahakian (2014–2016), and Steven E. Hyman (2008–2014).

The International Neuroethics Society is a professional association of scientists, scholars, students, and practicing legal and health professionals leading the discussion on the complex ethical issues arising from brain research and an expanding understanding of the mind. Experts in the ethical, legal, and societal impacts of advances in neuroscience, Society members are uniquely equipped to communicate the value and implications that new knowledge, technologies, and potential applications bring to human health and wellbeing.




Image of Debra JH Mathews
Debra JH Mathews

INS President (2023–2025)

Debra JH Mathews, PhD MA, is the Associate Director for Research and Programs at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Professor in the Department of Genetic Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Mathews's academic work focuses on ethics and policy issues raised by emerging biotechnologies, with particular focus on genetics, stem cell science, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence.

President's Address


Robert Beets
INS Assistant Director
[email protected]