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Dr. Judy Illes



Faculty of Medicine

Research Themes: 

The Communicating Mind and Body

Dr. Illes is Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics at UBC. She is Director of Neuroethics Canada, and faculty in the Centre for Brain Health and at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. She received her PhD in Hearing and Speech Sciences, and in Neuropsychology at Stanford University, and became one of the pioneers of the field of neuroethics formally established in early 2000.

Dr. Illes’ research, teaching and outreach initiatives are devoted to ethical, legal, social and policy challenges at the intersection of the brain sciences and biomedical ethics. She has made groundbreaking contributions to neuroethical thinking for neuroscience discovery and clinical translation. In the face of the pandemic, she has been thinking deeply about and contributing to discourse on the neurologic and mental health consequences of COVID-19, with a particular focus on vulnerable people.

In addition to her primary appointment in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, Dr. Illes also holds associate appointments in Population and Public Health and in Journalism at UBC, and in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA. She is Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethics of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Vice Chair of the CIHR’s Institute Advisory Board of the Institute on Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction, and co-Lead of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy.

Dr. Illes was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2012 and appointed to the Order of Canada in December 2017. Her latest books, a series on Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics, feature neuroethical issues in pain, global mental health, do-it-yourself brain devices, and neurolaw.