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Nita A. Farahany, Professor of Law and Philosophy and Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society    editNita A. Farahany

Nita A. Farahany is a leading scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of biosciences and emerging technologies, particularly those related to neuroscience and behavioral genetics. She is the Director of Duke Science & Society, the Duke MA in Bioethics & Science Policy, and a Professor of Law & Philosophy.

In 2010, Farahany was appointed by President Obama to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, and continues to serve as a member. Her recent scholarship includes "Searching Secrets," 160 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1239 (2012) which explores the descriptive potential of intellectual property law as a metaphor to describe current Fourth Amendment search and seizure law and predict how the Fourth Amendment will apply to emerging technology. A related article, "Incriminating Thoughts," 64 Stanford Law Review 351 (2012) demonstrates through modern neuroscience applications the need to redefine the taxonomy of evidence subject to the privilege against self-incrimination.  She also is the editor of The Impact of Behavioral Sciences on Criminal Law  (Oxford University Press), a book of essays from experts in science, law, philosophy, and policy.

Farahany presents her work widely including to audiences at the Judicial Conferences for the Second and Ninth Circuits, the National Judicial College, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Academies of Science Workshops, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the National Association of Criminal Defense lawyers, the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy, and by testifying before Congress. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute, chair of the Criminal Justice Section of the Association of American Law Schools , on the Board of the International Neuroethics Society, and the recipient of the 2013 Paul M. Bator award given annually to an outstanding legal academic under 40.

She received her AB in genetics, cell, and developmental biology at Dartmouth College, a JD and MA from Duke University, as well as a PhD in philosophy; her dissertation was entitled "Rediscovering Criminal Responsibility through Behavioral Genetics."  Farahany also holds an ALM in biology from Harvard University. In 2004-2005, Farahany clerked for Judge Judith W. Rogers of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, after which she joined the faculty at Vanderbilt University. In 2011, Farahany was the Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Stanford Law School.

Office Location: Duke Law School 210 Science Dr, Box 90362, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone: (919) 613-8514
Email Address: send me a message
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Ph.D., Duke University, 2006
M.A., Duke University, 2004
J.D., Duke University, 2004
A.B., Dartmouth College, 1998

Philosophy of Biology

Teaching (Spring 2019):
  • LAW 341.01, Fda law and policy Synopsis
    Law School 4000, TuTh 08:55 AM-10:20 AM
  • LAW 584.01, Forensic science colloquium Synopsis
    Law School 3000, M 02:00 PM-03:50 PM

Recent Publications   (More Publications)
  • Greely, HT; Grady, C; Ramos, KM; Chiong, W; Eberwine, J; Farahany, NA; Johnson, LSM; Hyman, BT; Hyman, SE; Rommelfanger, KS; Serrano, EE. "Neuroethics Guiding Principles for the NIH BRAIN Initiative.." The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 38.50 (December, 2018): 10586-10588. [doi]
  • Farahany, NA; Greely, HT; Hyman, S; Koch, C; Grady, C; PaČ™ca, SP; Sestan, N; Arlotta, P; Bernat, JL; Ting, J; Lunshof, JE; Iyer, EPR; Hyun, I; Capestany, BH; Church, GM; Huang, H; Song, H. "The ethics of experimenting with human brain tissue.." Nature 556.7702 (April, 2018): 429-432. [doi]
  • Farahany, N; Oertelt, N; Arabian, A; Payne, S; Brugger, E; Chorost, M. "Human by Design: An Ethical Framework for Human Augmentation." Ieee Technology and Society Magazine 36.1 (2017): 32-36.
  • Farahany, N. "3 Reasons Brain Science is Terrific and Terrifying." World Economic Forum (2016).
  • Farahany, N; Zacharias, R. "The Legal Cycle of Life." Finding Consciousness: The Neuroscience, Ethics, and Law of Severe Brain Damage. Oxford University Press, 2016. 229-245.

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