Professor Ilina Singh
My team’s location within Oxford Psychiatry and Neuroscience is a key strength of our programme, allowing us to develop work that is integrated with world-leading, cutting edge research and clinical development in psychiatry and neuroscience. We also importantly maintain independence, working across other key centres for excellence in ethics in Oxford.
Dr Alexandra Almeida: NEUROSEC Research Manager
Jessica Lorimer, MRC-Oxford DPhil Student
Edward Jacobs, Wellcome Trust DPhil Student
Gulamabbas Lakha, DPhil Student
Briana Applewhite, ARC DPhil Student
Bessie O'Dell, DPhil Student
Dhriti Ratra, DPhil Student
Tessa Lomax, Academic Clinical Fellow
Dr Rosemary Musesengwa (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Dr David Lyreskog (Postdoctoral Researcher)
Dr Hazem Jonny (EC Postdoctoral Researcher)
Dr Joseph Moore (Postdoctoral Researcher; joint post with Oxford Uehiro Centre)
Dr Edmond Awad (Senior Researcher; joint post with Oxford Uehiro Centre)
Dr Madeleine Reineke (Postdoctoral Researcher; joint post with Oxford Uehiro Centre)
NIHR BRC Flourishing and Wellbeing Theme
Dr Shannon Maloney (Postdoctoral Researcher)
NEUROSCIENCE, ETHICS AND SOCIETY THEME LEAD
Professor of Neuroscience & Society
- Co-Director: Wellcome Trust Centre for Ethics and the Humanities
- Distinguished Research Fellow: Oxford Uehiro Centre
Research on the social and ethical dimensions of research and innovation in neuroscience and psychiatry
I hold a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University; over the past decade, I have added to these foundations through extensive work in bioethics, methodology innovation, and sociology. I bring this interdisciplinary perspective to my current research through an approach known as empirical ethics. At present, my team's major research projects encompass: nature-based interventions for flourishing and mental health; digital mental health ethics, ethics of early intervention in mental health; and global mental health ethics.
My core research interest is in the social and ethical dimensions of innovations in neuroscience, psychiatry and related areas. In the therapeutic realm, I am particularly interested in translational impacts for children and families. My outlook is local and global, with an emphasis on connecting contextual, empirical investigations with ethical analysis and policy deliberations (empirical ethics). I believe that good ethics requires a firm grip on the science and the ethics, and that respect for patients and understanding of context make for good and relevant ethical contributions. While in Oxford, I have developed the Design Bioethics Lab, which develops co-designed, purpose-built engineered tools for research and engagement on the societal and ethical dimensions of biomedical innovations.
Much of my work reflects a longstanding commitment to bringing the first-person experiences of children and young people into ethical evaluation, clinical decision-making and policy-making. To do this, colleagues and I co-design and co-produce innovative methods of data collection and data presentation using a range of approaches, including qualitative and quantitative methods, mobile technologies and digital games.
I am a co-principal investigator for the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, where I co-lead the collective minds project on the neuroethics of new forms of collective and collaborative decision-making, including swarm and hive minds, brain-computer interfaces, and novel AI technologies. My team also contributes to work on global genomic ethics through our global mental health ethics programme. We are funded for various projects through a partnership with the Stanley Centre, Board Institute of Harvard and MIT; British Academy; Global Challenges Research Fund, Africa-Oxford Initiative, and others.
I co-lead, with Prof Willem Kuyken, the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Flourishing and Wellbeing Theme. This is a major cross-University initiative to build the evidence-base supporting social prescribing in mental health. We aim to identify key mechanisms driving positive connections between mental health and nature-based interventions and experiences in young people and in older adults. Our work is founded on the principle that 'flourishing' connotes good for the individual and good for the planet.
We were delighted to be awarded a Wellcome Discovery Platform in Transformative Inclusive Bioethics, to start in 2025. The award focuses on methodology development and my role as Co-PI will be to amplify the Design Bioethics Lab to create methods and tools that enable the mapping of collective values, preferences and decision-making among young people around questions concerning: what do we owe future generations?
I am a co-investigator on a Wellcome Discovery Award (PI Prof Argyris Stringaris, UCL) where my role is to investigate the ethics of 'surprises' (or expectancy violations) in therapies targeting severe social anxiety.
Past projects include: A Senior Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust for a project entitled: Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry, 2015-2020. This project follows on from a Wellcome Trust University Award for VOICES: Voices on Identity, Childhood, Ethics & Stimulants: Children join the debate. We have added significantly to innovative methods in working with young people. A Wellcome Trust Enrichment Award enabled us to create a bioethics game on mental health digital phenotyping: www.tracingtomorrow.org
I led the UK Ethics Accelerator for Pandemic Emergencies, funded by the UKRI Covid-19 Rapid Response Call, involving 5 UK institutions and 9 leading UK bioethicists as Co-Directors, along with 6 postdoctoral fellows and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics as a key partner. A project funded by the Duke of Westminster Foundation for a trial of a peer-support intervention for mental health and wellbeing, aimed at the challenges faced by adolescents during the epidemic crisis.
Pavarini G. et al, (2023), Proceedings of IDC 2023 - 22nd Annual ACM Interaction Design and Children Conference: Rediscovering Childhood, 732 - 735
Bonell C. et al, (2023), BMJ Open, 13
Merging Minds: the conceptual and ethical impacts of technologies for collective minds
LYRESKOG D., (2023), Neuroethics
Zohny H. et al, (2023), Neuroethics, 16
Kappes A. et al, (2022), BMJ Open, 12
RESEARCH, TRAINING AND EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
I welcome approaches from potential postdocs who have demonstrated excellence in prior work. Although internal resources for postdoc projects can be considered, in almost all cases potential fellows will need to apply for funding or bring their own funding.
I can provide supervision for DPhil (PhD) projects in the following areas. Most projects will need to have an empirical basis (we use both quantitative and qualitative methods). Approaches from scientists are very welcome. (Please note that, due to time constraints, I am unable to support DPhil student applications, unless these are specifically advertised.)
- Ethical and/or social dimensions of child mental health, particularly ADHD, Autism and Psychosis
- Social and/or ethical dimensions of neuroscience technology innovation, including AI
- Patient engagement/involvement in the context of science, industry, health, society, including co-design and co-production methodologies
- Global mental health ethics