Lomax Boyd, PhD

Assistant Research Professor


  • Assistant Research Professor
    Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • Civic Science Fellow
    Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics

Lomax Boyd’s research focuses on the scientific and ethical questions raised by experimental models of the human brain, including human brain organoids, engrafted organoids, human brain chimeras, and genetically engineered nonhuman animals. His scientific studies into the genetic mechanisms regulating human brain size evolution and development has provoked curiosity and wonder about how we come to understanding human distinctiveness, but also raised ethical questions about how to seek, understand, and incorporate public epistemologies in discovery science. Previously, Lomax served as a Civic Science Fellow examining the ethical issues raised by human brain organoid technology. He has been funded by the Kavli Foundation to further study how epistemic or metaphysical belief systems influence public attitudes toward science. With support from the Dana Foundation, Dr. Boyd also develops pathways for neuroscience trainees to engage with social and ethical issues raised, or informed, by their research.

His current research seeks to utilize scientific, philosophical, and social science methods to explore the neurobiological basis, and ethical implications, of moral-status-conferring cognitive capacities in human brain models. Previously, Dr. Boyd conducted his postdoctoral research in the evolution of human speech and language circuits at The Rockefeller University after receiving his PhD in neurogenetics from Duke University.

Research Interests

  • Synthetic biological (organoid) intelligence
  • Ethics of human brain models: organoids, chimeras, genome-engineered
  • Ethics in neuroscience education
  • Moralized public attitudes toward emerging science



  • Postdoctoral Training, The Rockefeller University, Laboratory of Neurogenetics of Language
  • PhD, Duke University, Genetics and Genomics
  • MS, College of William and Mary, Biology
  • BS, University of Richmond, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Recent Publications

Lomax Boyd and Nethanel Lipshitz. “Dimensions of Consciousness and the Moral Status of Brain Organoids”. Neuroethics. 2023. doi: 10.1007/s12152-023-09538-x.

Anja Pichl, Robert Ranisch, Ozan Altan Altinok, Melpomeni Antonakaki, Andrew J. Barnhart, Katherine Bassil, J. Lomax Boyd, et al. “Ethical, Legal, and Societal Aspects of Human Cerebral Organoids and their Governance in Germany, the UK and the USA”. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology. 2023. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2023.1194706.

Lomax Boyd. “Scientific and ethical challenges of brain chimeras converge on an ‘enriched’ approach”. Molecular Psychology: Brain, Behavior, and Society. 2023. doi:10.12688/molpsychol.17558.1.

Hartung T, Smirnova L, Morales Pantoja IE, Akwaboah A, Alam El Din D-M, Berlinicke CA, Boyd JL, et al. The Baltimore declaration toward the exploration of organoid intelligence. Frontiers in Science. 2023. doi: 10.3389/fsci.2023.1068159.

Smirnova L, Caffo BS, Gracias DH, Huang Q, Morales Pantoja IE, Tang B, Zack DJ, Berlinicke CA, Boyd JL, et al. Organoid intelligence (OI): the new frontier in biocomputing and intelligence-in-a-dish. Frontiers in Science. 2023. doi: 10.3389/fsci.2023.1017235

Lomax Boyd & Jeremy Sugarman, Toward Responsible Public Engagement in Neuroethics. AJOB Neuroscience. 2022. doi: 10.1080/21507740.2022.2048736.

Vasiliki Stoumpou, César D. M. Vargas, Peter F. Schade, Theodoros Giannakopoulos, J. Lomax Boyd, Erich D. Jarvis. Analysis of Mouse Vocal Communication (AMVOC): A deep, unsupervised method for rapid detection, analysis, and classification of ultrasonic vocalisations. BioAcoustics. 2022. doi: 10.1080/09524622.2022.2099973.

Boyd, J. Lomax and Wray, Britt, Engaging and Co-authoring with Science Publics Online: Interactive Documentaries as Emergent Models of Science Communication. SSRN. 2018.

Lomax Boyd, Stephanie L. Skove, Jeremy P. Rouanet, Louis-Jan Pilaz, Tristan Bepler, Raluca Gordan, Gregory A. Wray, Debra L. Silver. “Human-chimpanzee differences in a FZD8 enhancer alter cell cycle dynamics in the developing neocortex”. Current Biology. 2015. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.01.041.

Boyd, J. Lomax, and Wray, Gregory A. “Evolution of Human Gene Expression Control. Encyclopedia of Life Science”. 2014. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020769.pub2. Sharma K, Gillum N, Boyd JL, Schmid A. “RosR Transcription Factor is Required for Gene Expression Dynamics in Response to Extreme Oxidative Stress in a Hypersaline-Adapted Archaeon”. BMC Genomics. 2012. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-13-351.