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*This post by Livia Merrill was originally featured on The Neuroethics Blog.
Livia Merrill is a recent graduate from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA, where she has received both her B.S. and M.S. in Neuroscience. Her research of 4 years under Dr. Fiona Inglis, PhD, consisted of dendritic morphological changes in the prefrontal cortex of non-human primates after the administration of PCP. Having psychomimetic effects, this model was utilized to contribute to the study of schizophrenia and to provide for more effective anti-psychotics. Her current pursuit is under Dr. Stacy Drury, PhD to examine cortisol levels of pregnant mothers in some of the underprivileged neighborhoods of New Orleans and the epigenetic effects on their offspring. Livia’s future plans consist of research behind deviant behavior and rehabilitating subjects. Ideally, she hopes to contribute to change in the criminal justice system, where punishment can transition to rehabilitation, by demonstrating the negative effects of adverse
experiences, including punishment-based systems.
The United States has the largest population of incarcerated individuals in the world; the latest available data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate there are approximately 1.6 million inmates. Such numbers not only reveal the number of imprisoned individuals but also provide an idea of the massive impact on family members, victims, and other members of society. Furthermore, recidivism rates have revealed that one-quarter to two-thirds of released persons from state prisons are rearrested within 3 years.i Personal accounts, governmental reviews, and actions by prison activists and social workers have unveiled the grave conditions of these institutions. Such examples include a 2012 case where Los Angeles deputies were accused of violently beating inmates of the L.A. County Jail Complexii and a case in 2013 where a Mississippi prison for the mentally ill was accused of being understaffed and having deplorable living conditions, such as rat infestations, rampant diseases, sexual assaults, and malnourishment of food and medicinal treatment.iii
|An example of a typical cell in Orleans Parish Prison, New Orleans, LA. (Via therightperspective.org)|
I am a lecturer in biomedical ethics and law, primarily interested in the ethical and philosophical issues of psychiatry. I have a background in bioethics, social science, psychology and biology. I also host and co-edit a website psychiatricethics.com which features articles and multimedia on a wide range of issues in psychiatry, neuroethics and bioethics.
For several years I have been researching the ethical and philosophical issues raised by self harm and its treatment. In particular, I have been concerned with the ethical questions which arise when doctors or nurses allow patients to self harm in psychiatric hospitals. I first encountered this issue when it was reported in the British press that patients were being allowed to self cut in some NHS hospitals. For example, one inpatient was allowed to keep a piece of glass in a locked draw in her room and use it to cut her knees.
My work on self harm has had an empirical component. Read the rest of this entry »
Jessica Birkett is a doctoral candidate with the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine based with the Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Brought to the faculty through the Australian Research Council discovery grant in response to her initial research with the University of Sydney’s Department of Philosophy following her BA (Humanities & Philosophy) at California State, her work explores the use of phenomenological methods in conceptualising neurobehavioural disorders. The ARC project ‘Addiction Moral Agency and Moral Identity’ on which Jessica was a researcher, conducted a longitudinal, combined theoretical and empirical study into the phenomenology of addiction experience as an experimental project in the addiction subset of neuroethics. Her own dissertation concerns the integration of phenomenology into clinical practice, particularly in the diagnosing of neurological or mental health disorders and inferences around patient agency therein. Read the rest of this entry »
Mallory Bowers is a 5th year Neuroscience doctoral candidate working with Dr. Kerry Ressler at Emory University. Prior to graduate school, Mallory received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. Mallory is interested in behavioral neuroscience, with a particular focus on how neural plasticity contributes to learning. Furthermore, she is interested in how aberrant neural plasticity can instantiate psychiatric disease. With Dr. Ressler, Mallory is using a mouse model of exposure-based psychotherapy to better understand the neurobiology of learned fear. Specifically, her research focuses on a putative interaction between the cholecystokinin and endogenous cannabinoid systems that may underlie the extinction of cued fear. A list of her publications can be found here. Read the rest of this entry »
JOIN US FOR DINNER AND DRINKS (each person will be responsible for his/her bill).
- Date: Friday, November 8
- Time: 7pm until 830pm or until ?
- UPDATED LOCATION: Marina Kitchen, 333 West Harbor Drive San Diego, CA 92101 (in the same hotel where INS is being held)
We will meet immediately after the International Neuroethics Society meeting on Friday 7pm at the Marina Kitchen‘s lounge area which located in the Marriott Marquis Marina (the same location as the INS venue) at 333 West Harbor Drive *each person will be responsible for his/her bill*
Please RSVP to Karen Rommelfanger (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Fri, November 1 at 5pm EST.
Dr. Syd Johnson is a neuroethicist/bioethicist/philosopher at Michigan Technological University, where she teaches ethics and bioethics, and singlehandedly holds down the neuroethics fort in the snowy wilderness of northern Michigan. Prior to her appointment at Tech, she was a Research Fellow in Neuroethics at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and received her PhD in philosophy from SUNY Albany. Her research interests are primarily in the ethical implications of brain injuries, especially those at opposite ends of the severity spectrum: mild TBI, specifically sport-related concussion, and disorders of consciousness. Syd has been a vocal advocate for radical, neuroprotective reforms in youth sports such as football and hockey, and thinks one of the important roles of bioethicists is to stir up debate about health-related issues of importance to the public. To that end, and despite her training as a philosopher, her interests in neuroethics tend towards real-world problems and concerns rather than metaphysical speculation. On the other hand, Syd really likes to think about zombies, and the ethical and metaphysical implications of the impending zombie apocalypse. Read the rest of this entry »