Steven E. Hyman, M.D., is a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology and a Core Institute Member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, where he directs the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research. The Stanley Center engages in large-scale, globally conducted studies of neuropsychiatric genetics, stem cell biology, neurobiology, and technology development in support of translational efforts focused on reducing the global burden of psychiatric disorders.
Hyman also serves as chair of the board of Charles A. Dana Foundation, which supports research and education in neuroscience. In addition, he is a Director of the Charles H. Revson Foundation, of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering (Geneva, Switzerland) and of the nonprofit scientific publisher Annual Reviews Inc. In the private sector, he is a Director of Voyager Therapeutics and Q-State Biosciences and serves on the scientific advisory boards of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, BlackThorn Therapeutics, and F-Prime Capital.
From 2001 to 2011 Hyman served as Provost of Harvard University, the university’s chief academic officer. From 1996 to 2001, he served as Director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), where he emphasized investment in neuroscience and emerging genetic technologies. He also initiated a series of large practical clinical trials to inform practice.
Hyman has served as President of the Society for Neuroscience (2015), President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (2018), founding President of the International Neuroethics Society (2008-2013), and Editor of the Annual Review of Neuroscience (2002-2016). He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a member of the National Academy of Medicine, where he served on the governing Council (2012-2018) and which he represented on the Governing Board of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016-2019). From 2012-2018 Hyman chaired the Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders of the US National Academies, which brings together industry, government, foundations, patient groups, and academia. In 2016, he was awarded the Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health by the National Academy of Medicine.
Hyman received his B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale College, an M.A. from the University of Cambridge, which he attended as a Mellon fellow studying History and Philosophy of Science, and an M.D., cum laude, from Harvard Medical School.
GenEd 1064 (Formerly SCRB 187)
Brains, Identity, and Moral Agency
Advances in brain science have the potential to diminish many forms of human suffering and disability that are rooted in disordered brain function. But what are the ethical implications involved in altering the structure and function of human brains? What’s at stake when we have the ability to alter a person’s narrative identity, create brain-computer interfaces, and manipulate social and moral emotion? In this course, you will ask and attempt to answer these questions, and discuss the implications of mechanistic explanations of decision-making and action for widely-held concepts of moral agency and legal culpability. This course will prepare you to be a thoughtful citizen of a world characterized by rapidly emerging understandings of human brain function, and by new technologies intended to repair or influence human brains.