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Vanderbilt law professor set to join White House commission on bioethical issues

Apr. 8, 2010, 9:18 AM

(Media Note: Click here for a high resolution picture of Nita Farahany .)

The White House announced that it plans to appoint Vanderbilt associate professor of law and philosophy Nita Farahany to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

The commission will advise President Obama on legal, philosophical and social issues arising from the biosciences and to suggest policies to ensure scientific research, health care delivery and technological innovation are conducted in an ethically responsible manner.

President Obama said, “As our nation invests in science and innovation and pursues advances in biomedical research and health care, it’s imperative that we do so in a responsible manner.”

Farahany is a leading expert in the intersection between law, philosophy and the biosciences, especially related to behavioral genetics and neuroscience. She is the editor and a contributor to The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law ,which includesessays from experts in science, law, philosophy and policy on the emerging use of behavioral genetics and neuroscience in criminal law.

“Advances in science and technology hold great promise for deepening our understanding of the natural world, and for improving institutions dedicated to health, law and national security,” said Farahany. “But such developments also present new challenges to cherishedAmerican ideals and constitutional doctrines. I am honored by President Obama’s intent to appoint me tothePresidential Commission for the Study of Bioethics, and for theopportunity to help inform the ethical, legal, and policy debates concerning scientific progress.”

In her current research, Farahany uses biosciences to study agency and responsibility theory, and to challenge existing interpretations of the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

“This is an incredible honor for Nita, the Law School and Vanderbilt University,” said Chris Guthrie, Dean of Vanderbilt Law School. “I commend the White House for choosing Nita for this commission.She has significant expertise in at least three disciplines relevant to the questions this body will be called upon to address and possesses judgment beyond her years.”

You can learn more about the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues on . You can watch a video interview with Farahany talking about her book, The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law , at .

To learn more about Vanderbilt Law School, go to .

Media Contact: Amy Wolf, (615) 322-NEWS