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Research unit director

The Neuroethics research unit is committed to training a new generation of students and researchers in neuroethics through the conduct of collaborative interdisciplinary research within Montréal’s unique neuroscience and bioethics environment.

The Neuroethics research unit is committed to training a new generation of students and researchers in neuroethics through the conduct of collaborative interdisciplinary research within Montréal’s unique neuroscience and bioethics environment.

Eric Racine, PhD
Dr. Eric Racine is Director of the Neuroethics research unit and Associate IRCM Research Professor. He is also a member of the Departments of Medicine and Social and Preventive Medicine (Bioethics Programs; Université de Montréal), an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery (McGill University), and an Affiliate Member of the Biomedical Ethics Unit (McGill University).




Natalie Zizzo
Natalie Zizzo first started in the Neuroethics Research Unit as a summer intern in 2012, where she completed a project on the ethical implications of a perinatal screen for prenatal alcohol exposure. In 2015 she completed her Master’s in Experimental Medicine (Bioethics option) at McGill University. Her thesis project focused on patient-centred care and Parkinson’s disease patient preferences for involvement in medical decision making. Her research interests include clinical ethics, especially issues related to patient-centred care and everyday ethics. Additionally, she is interested in issues related to women’s and maternal health, particularly as this relates to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and addiction. She is currently working as a research coordinator in the Unit and is involved in various projects related to neurodevelopmental disorders.



Vijaya Madhoo
Vijaya Madhoo has over 10 years of combined experience in molecular biology, communications, research, and administration. She provides overall assistance and support for the research activities of the Neuroethics research unit.

Trainees of the Neuroethics research unit pursue their projects full time in a collegial and focused research environment under the supervision of the unit’s leadership.

Veljko Dubljevic
Postdoctoral research 
Veljko Dubljevic Ph.D.,D.Phil., is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Neuroethics Research Unit at IRCM and Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University in Montreal. He obtained a PhD in political science (University of Belgrade), and after studying bioethics, philosophy and neuroscience (University of Tuebingen), he obtained a doctorate in philosophy (University of Stuttgart). His primary research focuses on ethics of neuroscience and technology, and neuroscience of ethics. He has over 30 publications in moral, legal and political philosophy and in neuroethics. He is also engaged in the activities of the International Neuroethics Society and serves as a member of its Communications Committee.

Isabelle Chouinard
PhD Student
Isabelle Chouinard is a Trudeau Scholar and PhD candidate in the Applied Human Sciences program (Bioethics option) at the Université de Montréal. Her academic background includes studies in anthropology, social work, and telehealth. Prior to returning to Montréal in 2010, Isabelle was an active member of the ethics community in Calgary, Alberta where she was a member of a hospital clinical ethics committee, member of the Conjoint Research Ethics Board of the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services, as well as long-time volunteer and student within the Clinical Ethics Services at Alberta Health Services. Isabelle’s current research aims to understand the impact of neuroprognostication and prognostic variability, within the context of evidence-based medicine, on end-of-life decision-making in pediatric intensive care settings.

John Aspler 
PhD Student
John Aspler graduated from McGill University with a BSc in Neuroscience and a minor in Music. Although originally interested in music cognition, his exposure to a stream of problematic neuroscience-related news publications both cultivated and cemented in him an interest in improving the public’s understanding of science. At present, John pursues a PhD at McGill University and at the Neuroethics Research Unit, where he is working on several projects about the media discourse surrounding people with neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., fetal alcohol spectrum disorder). 

Lila Karpowicz
Master’s Student
Lila Karpowicz is currently a master’s student in bioethics at the Université de Montréal. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Neuroscience from Concordia University, where she was also a member of the Science College, a small department which offers a minor in Multidisciplinary Studies in Science. While at Concordia, she has been involved in a few research projects in biophysics, neuroscience, and neuropsychology. Her current academic interests revolve around neuroscience and neurology in the medical field, including the ethics of neurosurgical innovation and neurostimulation. 

Jessica Kovitz-Lentz, MD CM FRCP(C)
Master's Student
Jessica Kovitz-Lensch completed an Honours in English Literature and a Major in Western Society and Culture from Concordia’s Liberal Arts College before entering medical school at Université de Sherbrooke. She subsequently completed a neurology residency at Université de Montréal in 2012 and works as a general neurologist in a community hospital in Saint-Hyacinthe while completing her master’s degree from McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine with a Specialization in Bioethics. Interested in clinical bioethics as a resident, she became an active member of the clinical ethics committee of the CHUM. Current areas of research interest include creating a neuroethics curriculum for neurology, neurosurgery and psychiatry residents staff, genetic discrimination against patients with neurological diseases, and various issues surrounding brain death.

Lisa Anne Rasmussen, M.D.
Master's Student  
Lisa Anne studied Human Physiology at the University of Saskatchewan and afterwards attended Medical School.  Her keen interest in Pediatric Neurology developed in high-school and she followed this dream in 2006 when she started her residency in Pediatric Neurology at the BC Children’s Hospital through the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.  During her residency, Lisa Anne’s main interest was Neuro-Oncology and later on, Palliative Care.  She was blessed in 2011 when she was brought on as a locum at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Lisa Anne is currently working as a General Pediatric Neurologist at the MCH, with focused clinics for neonatal neurology, headache and Neurofibromatosis. Lisa Anne has also joined the Pediatric Palliative Care team at the MCH.  In September 2012, Lisa Anne started a Master’s of Biomedical Ethics through McGill.  She aims to combine this training with a fellowship in Palliative Care in the near future.  Her research interests are starting to develop and she hopes to focus on quality of life in neurodegenerative diseases, perceptions and practices in transition to Palliative Care, and ethical frameworks as applied to prognostication and medical decision making.

Victoria Saigle
Master's Student
Victoria Saigle, a graduate student at the IRCM’s Neuroethics Research Unit, is in the process of completing her Master’s degree in Experimental Medicine with a concentration in bioethics at McGill University. Victoria also obtained her B.A.&Sc. in Cognitive Science at McGill University, where she specialized in neuroscience and philosophy. Much of her work as a member of the unit over the past few years has been dedicated to issues related to practical issues faced by suicidal individuals and professionals who frequently interact with these populations, neuroscientific studies of free will, and the communication of scientific findings in the print media and academic literature. She is interested in exploring how individuals understand neuroscientific findings, particularly in the context of mental illness, and how these beliefs may be translated into health policy.

Dearbhail Bracken-Roche
Master's Student
Dearbhail graduated from the University of Toronto with an HBSc in Psychology and Bioethics in 2014. She joined the Neuroethics Research Unit as a research intern in the summer of 2013, working on a project examining patient protections and autonomy in the context of surgical innovation, and returned in 2014 to pursue an MSc in Biomedical Ethics at McGill University. Dearbhail’s research interests include neuroethics in clinical and research settings, and her graduate work focuses on better understanding the concept of vulnerability and its implications in the context of research and clinical innovation for psychiatric disorders.


Simon Rousseau-Lesage
Research Assistant
Simon is now finishing a bachelor's degree in philosophy at University of Montreal. Convinced of the relevance of an interdisciplinary dialogue between philosophy and neuroscience for future research, his interests at the intersection of these disciplines led him to the Unit for a summer internship in 2015. He was involved in various projects, but his main contributions focused on ethical issues surrounding free-will and addicts patients. He now joined the Unit as a research assistant and brings a technical support to different projects and works in progress, in addition to his participation in certain publications. Simon plans to pursue his studies with a master's degree in philosophy and is mostly interested by questions intersecting philosophy of mind, cognitive sciences and the phenomenological movement.

Kaylee Sohng
Research Assistant
Kaylee is pursuing her BSc in neuroscience at McGill. She is interested in the implications of modern day neuroscience research, and has a particular interest in aging and geriatric health. She hopes to learn more about how our growing capabilities in neuroscience research call for awareness of our actions and their impact on the human existence. In addition, she has interests in aging and immigrant populations, as well as health and science communication via audio-based media.

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