Seminar Series: The Ethics of Human Brain Organoids and Human-Animal Neural Chimeras Among U.S. Bioethicists and Public by John Evans, PhD

Monday, Sep 11, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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Bloomberg School of Public Health Feinstone Hall
615 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD

Medical research for neurological disorders has been limited by the fact that it is ethically difficult to experiment on live people’s brains.  In response, scientists have created small (4mm) pieces of human brain in a dish made from human stem calls to experiment upon called human brain organoids.  With the same motivation, there are now also animals that have had their brains “humanized” in various ways, resulting in human-animal neural chimeras.  Professor Evans will talk about the ethics of academics on these issues and compare these to the ethics of the public, as determined by an empirical social science study.  The public’s ethics are based on foundational cultural distinctions typically not held by academics where the primary concerns are the human/animal divide and that disembodied human parts retain the essence of the donor.

John H. Evans is the Tata Chancellor’s Chair in Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology, Associate Dean of the Social Sciences and Co-Director of the Institute for Practical Ethics at the University of California, San Diego.  He specializes in examining debates that involve religion and science in the public sphere, as well as using social science to contribute to humanistic and ethical debates.  He is the author of seven books and over 65 articles examining science, bioethics and religion.