Image of a human brain set against a backdrop of pastel colours.

The ethics of human brain organoids and human-animal neural chimeras among bioethicists and the U.S. public

Profile picture of Professor John Evans

We are excited to host John Evans (University of California, San Diego) in collaboration with the Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society and the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh departmental seminar series.


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 brains 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. This is all ethically controversial. In this talk, Professor Evans will talk about the ethics of bioethicists on these issues and compare these to the ethics of the U.S. public, as determined by an empirical social science study. The public’s ethics are based on foundational cultural distinctions typically not held by academics.


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 is the author of six books and over 60 articles examining science, bioethics and religion.  His most recent book is The Human Gene Editing Debate (2020, Oxford University Press).


This seminar will take place in person at the University of Edinburgh in the Violet Laidlaw Room at the Chrystal Macmillan Building.

Cover photo credit: Milad Fakurian via Unsplash.


Sep 12 2022


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


University of Edinburgh - Violet Laidlaw Room
Violet Laidlaw Room, 6th Floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building