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Professor Ilina Singh

Professor Ilina Singh

Team Members

Dr Alexandra AlmeidaNEUROSEC Research Manager 

Jessica Lorimer, MRC-Oxford DPhil Student

Edward Jacobs, Wellcome Trust DPhil Student

Gulamabbas LakhaDPhil Student

Global Initiative in Neuropsychiatric Ethics (NeuroGenE)

Ethics for Mental Health Digital Innovation for Young People in Africa (EMDIYA) Network 

Dr Rosemary Musesengwa (Senior Researcher in Mental Health Ethics)

Ms Kiran Manku (Research Assistant)


Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry (BeGOOD) Wellcome Trust Investigator Award

Dr David Lyreskog (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)

Dr Gabriela Pavarini (Postdoctoral Research Fellow)

Mr Geoffrey Mawdsley (Research Assistant)

Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities

Dr David Lyreskog (Postdoctoral Research Fellow; part-funded by a Wellcome Trust Enrichment Award)

Dr Hazem Jonny (Postdoctoral Research Fellow; joint post with Oxford Uehiro Centre)

UK Ethics Accelerator for Pandemic Emergencies 

Dr Alex McKeown (Postdoctoral Researcher)

Ms Valerie West (Project Manager)

 

NIHR Biomedical Research Centre: Oxford Health BRC (NEUROSEC-affiliated project)

Dr Alexandra Almeida (PPI Manager)

Ms Vanessa Bennett (Research Assistant for Young People's Participation and Involvement)

Neuroscience Ethics and Society Team  (NEUROSEC)

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. In 2018, we were successful in funding for the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, of which I am a Co-Director. As of 2021, I am Co-Director of the Leverhulme Centre for BioPsychosocial Studies of Child Development, led by Prof Jane Barlow of Social Policy and Intervention. 

We are involved in developing ethics research and guidance for a range of scientific and clinical studies in Oxford Psychiatry and Neuroscience, including projects in forensic psychiatry, bipolar disorder, psychosis, anorexia nervosa and global child development. We also provide ethics advice and foresight analysis to projects involving ‘big neuro’ and personalised mental health.

Ilina Singh

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

PERSONAL OVERVIEW

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 and in 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 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 neuroscience 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 neuro-ethical contributions.

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 develop and study innovative methods of data collection and data presentation using a range of approaches, including qualitative and quantitative methods, mobile technologies and digital games. 

Since coming to Oxford in 2015, my team has been successful in creating a 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.

My team is supported in part by 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. VOICES publications and videos have had impacts on clinical training and communication in the UK and around the world. In related work on ‘smart drugs’ and cognitive enhancement, we have influenced national health and policy deliberations in the UK, Europe and the United States. 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

Covid-19 Research and Innovation

I lead the UK Ethics Accelerator for Pandemic Emergencies, funded by the UKRI Covid-19 Rapid Response Call. This collaboration across 5 UK institutions involves 9 leading UK bioethicists as Co-Directors, along with 6 postdoctoral fellows and the Nuffield Council of Bioethics as a key partner. The core aim of the Ethics Accelerator is to mobilise national UK research excellence to rapidly guide health research, policy and practice in the profound ethical challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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. 

A project funded by the University of Oxford to trial a holistic digital mental health intervention aimed at pandemic-specific challenges.

 

RESEARCH, TRAINING AND EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES

POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH 

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. 

SUPERVISION

I can provide supervision for MSc or 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 child development; esp early intervention, moral developmentSocial and/or ethical dimensions of neuroscience technology innovation
  • Patient engagement/involvement in the context of science, industry, health, society
  • Global mental health