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Karen Rommelfanger, PhD

Associate Professor
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Associate Professor

Neuroethics Program, Center for Ethics

Phone: 404-727-1150

Fax: 404-727-7399


Contact Websites


Karen Rommelfanger is the Program Director of Emory University's Neuroethics Program at the Center for Ethics and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology and in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University. Dr. Rommelfanger received her PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University. She is also the Senior Associate Editor for the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience and is a member of the BRAIN Initiative's Neuroethics Division.

One area of her current research explores the nature and utility of placebo using Psychogenic Movement Disorders as a therapeutic model. Another area includes brain machine interfaces (such as deep brain stimulation or brain to brain interface). An overarching them in her work is the exploration of how evolving neuroscience and neurotechnologies challenge societal definitions of disease and medicine. She is also engaged in research in cross-cultural neuroethics. To that end she is leading a global neuroethics summit of all national brain projects, she serves as the U.S. BRAIN Neuroethics Division ambassador to the Human Brain Project's Ethics Advisory Board, and is a member of the China-India Mental Health Alliance.

Dr. Rommelfanger has been a neuroscience researcher for over 10 years and her work has been published in high-impact peer-reviewed journals such as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Neuroscience; her research on Parkinson Disease has been featured in the popular media including Scientific American. She has presented her work at both international and national conferences and has worked in prestigious laboratories in the U.S. and Japan using a broad array of neurotechnologies from brain imaging and behavioral techniques to electrophysiological recording of individual brain cells.

She regularly gives neuroethics talks in both universities and for general audiences; her neuroethics work has been published in top peer-reviewed neuroethics journals and in high-impact neuroscience journals such as Nature Reviews Neurology and Neuron. She has been quoted in several popular media outlets such as USA Today, The New York Times , Gizmodo, and ReWrite/Wired. She has written public scholarship for The Huffington Post and The Chronicle for Higher Education. She maintains and writes for the largest online neuroethics forum, The Neuroethics Blog which was recently used as a resource in a report to President Obama on neuroscience and ethics. She also founded NEW (NeuroEthicsWomen) Leaders, an organization that aims to cultivate professional development and scholarly networks for women in neuroethics. Dr. Rommelfanger believes that neuroethics training gives neuroscientists a creative edge and that neuroethics discussions are critical for academics and general audiences alike in order to ensure maximal benefit of neuroscience discoveries for society.