Ilina Singh

Ilina is Professor of Neuroscience & Society at the University of Oxford, where she holds a joint appointment between the Department of Psychiatry and the Faculty of Philosophy (Oxford Centre for Neuroethics and Uehiro Centre). Her work examines the psychosocial and ethical implications of advances in biomedicine and neuroscience for young people and families. This reflects a longstanding commitment to bringing the first person experiences of children and young people into ethical evaluation, clinical decision-making and policy-making.

In 2015, Ilina received a 5 year Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for a study entitled: Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry. Past projects include ADHD VOICES, Neuroenhancement Responsible Research and Innovation; and the Urban Brain Project.

Ilina has contributed to various scientific and policy groups, including the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. More recently, Ilina was part of the expert working group representing children and young people for the UK Department of Health 10 year strategy report, ‘A framework for mental health research’. She is a co-chair of the Ethics Advisory Board for the EU-AIMS project on autism treatments and is an expert advisor for the National Autism Project.

Ilina has published widely in eminent journals, including Nature, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Social Science and Medicine, and the American Journal of Bioethics. She is the lead editor of BioPrediction, Biomarkers and Bad Behavior: Scientific, Ethical and Legal Challenges (Oxford Series in Neuroscience, Law, and Philsophy. Oxford University Press, 2013), and a co-editor of Global ADHD (John Hopkins University Press, 2017). She is a founding editor of the journal BioSocieties and a member of the AJOB Neuroscience and Qualitative Psychology editorial boards.

Ilina received her BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD from Harvard. In 2013, Ilina was elected as a Fellow of the Hastings Center, an honour awarded to individuals of outstanding accomplishment whose work has informed scholarship and public understanding of complex ethical issues in health, health care, life sciences research and the environment.


  • Childhood: a suitable case for treatment?

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    We examine the contemporary debate on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, in which concerns about medicalisation and overuse of drug treatments are paramount. We show medicalisation in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to be a complex issue that requires systematic research to be properly understood. In particular, we suggest that the debate on this disorder might be more productive and less divisive if longitudinal, evidence-based understanding of the harms and benefits of psychiatric diagnosis and misdiagnosis existed, as well as better access to effective, non-drug treatments. If articulation of the values that should guide clinical practice in child psychiatry is encouraged, this might create greater trust and less division.

  • Can guidelines help reduce the medicalization of early childhood?

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  • Authentic Problematics of Empirical Ethics: Response to D. Micah Hester

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  • Disciplinary Crossings.

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    Eighteen months ago, I left a permanent professorship in a generously interdisciplinary department of sociology and took an impermanent, lower-paying job at a university where I had to apply to something called the “Committee on Distinction” to retain the title of “Professor.” Some people say, “That's what happens when Oxford calls.” But it wasn't just that. It was the opportunity to engage in a groundbreaking experiment: to embed and integrate ethics within the Oxford Department of Psychiatry and Neuroscience. It's a dream job, for which I was willing to cross the disciplinary line into the medical sciences. In the United Kingdom, many bioethicists still work in departments outside science and medicine; similarly, those of us who work on neuroethics and psychiatric ethics tend to inhabit departments of philosophy, law, or sociology. I can report already that interdisciplinarity from this side feels and looks different.

  • Cognitive Enhancement in Healthy Children Will Not Close the Achievement Gap in Education.

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