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Research Staff

  • Ramya M. Rajagopalan

    Ramya M. Rajagopalan

    Assistant Research Scientist

    Ramya M. Rajagopalan earned her Ph.D. in biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed postdoctoral fellowships in sociology and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

    Ramya’s work uses ethnographic and archival methods to examine the social impacts of genome technologies and big data in biomedicine. In one strand of her research she has analyzed debates about the meaning and significance of genetic variation for social categories of identity like race.

    Current projects investigate ethical issues in genome editing and gene drive, and the impact of emerging tools in precision medicine on medical research and health care practices.  

Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Daniel Callies

    Daniel Callies

    Daniel Edward Callies is a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics. He was born and raised in Southern California. After graduating cum laude with a bachelor's degree in philosophy from San Diego State University, he took a position in Albacete, Spain teaching English as a North American Language and Culture Assistant for the Spanish Ministry of Education and Sciences.

    After leaving Spain, he returned to San Diego State University and was awarded an master's degree for his thesis “Equality, Responsibility, and Climate Policy.” In 2013, he began a Ph.D. at Goethe University Frankfurt under the supervision of Professor Darrel Moellendorf.

    In the summer of 2016, he moved to Cambridge, Mass. to join Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government as a predoctoral research fellow in the Belfer Center’s Science, Technology, and Public Policy program. After submitting his dissertation “On the Ethics and Politics of Climate Engineering,” he joined the Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium) as the Bernheim Postdoctoral Fellow in Social Responsibility.

    Daniel defended his dissertation and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Goethe University until joining the Institute for Practical Ethics in fall 2018.

  • Amy Zhou

    Amy Zhou

    Amy Zhou earned her bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics. She is a medical sociologist interested in health inequalities in the United States and global setting.

    One line of her research critically examines the impact of global health policies. Her dissertation was based on fieldwork in Malawi; she looked at the tensions between global institutions and national governments over how to develop HIV policies, and on the ground, how the design of health policies can lead to unexpected outcomes for providers and patients.

    Read her article “Therapeutic citizens and clients: diverging healthcare practices in Malawi's prenatal clinics,” published in Sociology of Health & Illness (Wiley Online).

    Another line of research examines racial health inequalities in the U.S. Her research looked at the challenges and contested meaning of race in delivering racially targeted health services.

    At the Institute for Practical Ethics, Amy will do research on the social and ethical implications of gene drive technologies.

PhD Fellows

  • Hailey J. Kwon

    Hailey J. Kwon

    Hailey Kwon is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Philosophy. Before coming to UC San Diego, she obtained a bachelor's degree in biology and philosophy from the University of Dayton and was an undergraduate research fellow at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Her current research interests include philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, and metaphysics. 

  • Riley I. Taitingfong

    Riley I. Taitingfong

    Riley Taitingfong is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication. Her research interests include Indigenous knowledge, science and technology studies, cultural meanings of health, and community engagement. Her current project looks at the development of gene drives for conservation purposes in Hawaiʻi, including how scientists and conservationists are engaging local communities in assessing the risks and benefits of gene drives, and how gene drives relate to Native Hawaiian epistemologies.

Visiting Scholars

  • Bryan Cwik

    Bryan Cwik

    Fall Quarter 2019

    Bryan Cwik is an assistant professor in the Portland State University Department of Philosophy. He works on bioethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science, with recent work on intellectual property and climate change, and gene editing.

  • Elliott Sober

    Elliott Sober

    Winter Quarter 2020
    Elliott Sober is Hans Reichenbach Professor and William F. Vilas Research Professor in the Philosophy Department at the University of Wisconsin—Madison. His most recent book, "Ockham's Razors - A User's Manual," was published in July 2015 by Cambridge University Press.
  • Eric Winsberg

    January – August 2020

    Eric Winsberg is a professor in the University of South Florida Philosophy Department. His principal interests are in the philosophy of science, climate science and physics. His work in the philosophy of climate science specifically relates to their application in science policy and ethics.

  • Megan Blomfield

    Megan Blomfield

    February – March 2020

    Megan Blomfield is a professor in The University of Sheffield Department of Philosophy. Her research concerns global justice and the environment, focusing on the normative dimensions of climate change, and her book "Global Justice, Natural Resources, and Climate Change," was published May 2019


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