Meet a Member: Dr. Veronica Johansson

bild V1Dr. Veronica Johansson is an ethicist with a specialization in neuroethics and nanoethics. The foci of her research have been deep brain stimulation, brain-machine interfaces, major depressive disorder, human enhancement, nanomedicine and notions of authenticity and identity raised by neuromodulation techniques. Her current work foremost addresses ‘embedded ethics’, a method within bioethics that draws on both empirical ethics and casuistry, and ‘embedded patients’, i.e. patients integrated as collaborators in research, for instance in the formulation of research questions, to set research priorities and in validating research outcomes. A general theme throughout all her research is to detect and elaborate on biases and underrepresented perspectives, as well as separating facts from fiction and unfounded beliefs.

Veronica received her PhD in ethics, as well as her MTh, from Lund University, Sweden’s top ranked University. Though formally an ethicist, she was employed by the Neuronano Research Center, Dept. of Experimental Medical Science. This excellence center is an interdisciplinary research platform combining neuroscience, nano- and microtechnology, and biotechnology to create a new generation of brain-machine interfaces, where Veronica addressed the ethical implications of these techniques. Though still affiliated to the Center, she has left her employment. The week after completing her PhD, she was sought out by a German interdisciplinary research team to address the ethical implications of EEG as a means of communication for patients in complete locked-in state.

Beside research, Veronica thoroughly enjoys teaching. She has taught ethics and applied ethics, as well as nanoethics and engineering ethics at the degree program in Engineering Nanoscience, at the Faculty of Engineering, Lund University. She also enjoys public interaction and is regularly invited to give public lectures and participate in panel discussions and workshops. Her approach to ethics, and life, is influenced both by Zhuangzi and David Hume, and she describes herself as passionately curious. As such, neuroethics has a special appeal since the human brain provides endless challenges given how limited our current understanding of this organ is. Being described as the most complex thing in the universe, while so fundamental to our self-understanding, how could one not be intrigued?

Selected publications
“From Subjects to Experts – On the Current Transition of Patient Participation in Research”, Johansson V, American Journal of Bioethics (Forthcoming)

“The Enhancement Debate Revisited – Brain Augmentation and Embedded Ethics”, Johansson V, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience (Forthcoming)

“Thinking Ahead on Deep Brain Stimulation: An Analysis of the Ethical Implications of a Developing Technology”, Johansson V, Garwicz M, Kanje M†, Halldenius L & Schouenborg J, American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience, 2014; 5(1): 24-33, DOI: 10.1080/21507740.2013.863243

Stimulating the Brain: Ethical Perspectives on Deep Brain Stimulation & Nano Scaled Brain Machine Interfaces, Johansson V, Lund: Media tryck, 2013; 166

“Authenticity, Depression and Deep Brain Stimulation”, Johansson V, Garwicz M, Kanje M, Schouenborg J, Tingström A & Görman U, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 2011; 5(21), DOI: 10.3389/fnint.2011.00021

“Beyond Blind Optimism and Unfounded Fears: Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression”, Johansson V, Garwicz M, Kanje M, Röcklinsberg H, Schouenborg J, Tingström A, & Ulf Görman, Neuroethics, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s12152-011-9112-x

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