Karen Rommelfanger, Ph.D.
Karen Rommelfanger is the Program Director of Emory University’s Neuroethics Program at the Center for Ethics and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology and in the Department of Psychiatry at Emory University. Dr. Rommelfanger received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Emory University, her research focused on movement disorders. Her current research explores the nature and utility of placebo using Psychogenic Movement Disorders as a therapeutic model. An overarching them is her work is the exploration of how evolving neuroscience and neurotechnologies challenge societal definitions of disease and medicine. She is also the Neuroscience Editor-in-Residence for the American Journal of Bioethics Neuroscience and serves on the NIH BRAIN Initiative Neuroethics Workgroup. 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 and The New York Times and written 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 and is a founding member of the Atlanta Neuroethics Consortium. 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.