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Postdoctoral Scholars

  • Bonginkosi Shozi

    Bonginkosi Shozi

    Bonginkosi Shozi is currently a postdoctoral research scholar at the Institute for Practical Ethics. He holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) in Constitutional Law, Theory, and Human Rights Litigation, both obtained from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He recently completed the requirements for a Ph.D. in Law at the same institution.

    Bonginkosi conducts research on the legal, ethical and human rights implications of novel technologies. This includes biotechnological innovations — such as CRISPR — as well as assisted reproductive technologies, and pharmaceutical products.

    His doctoral thesis, funded by the National Research Foundation and the UKZN African Health Research Flagship, is titled “An Afrocentric approach to CRISPR-Cas9: Analysing the use of genetic technologies in human reproduction through the lens of human rights and African values,” and investigated critical legal, ethical and human rights issues emanating from the prospect of heritable human genome editing from an African perspective.

Visiting Graduate Students

  • Daniel Trusilo

    Daniel Trusilo

    January 2022 – December 2022

    Daniel Trusilo is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland. He is researching the practical application of ethics to autonomous systems with a focus on autonomous robotic systems developed for humanitarian and conflict environments.

    Previously, Daniel was the Humanitarian Assistance Advisor to U.S. Africa Command for the U.S. Agency for International Development. Prior to that role, Daniel carried out a Fulbright Public Policy Fellowship in Nepal where he worked on civil-military matters related to disaster preparedness and emergency response. Daniel also served seven years as a U.S. Army officer.

    He earned a bachelor's degree in international relations from the United States Military Academy at West Point and master's degrees in international affairs, and law and diplomacy from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, and the Fletcher School at Tufts University, respectively.

    A series of video interviews with Daniel about the ethical implications of autonomous robotic systems in conflict is available: Ethics in the use of autonomous robot systems

UC San Diego Ph.D. Fellows

  • Alec J. Calac

    Alec J. Calac

    2021 – 2022

    Alec Calac (Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians) is an MD/Ph.D. student at the UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science, and School of Medicine. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Arizona, and later completed concurrent research and health policy fellowships at the National Institutes of Health and National Indian Health Board in Washington, D.C.

    His research interests are in tribal public health and social media communications on or around American Indian reservations in the United States, and is currently measuring how social media can influence beliefs and attitudes about vaccines or vaccination in populations historically excluded from clinical trials

  • Keng-Chi Chang

    Keng-Chi Chang

    2021 – 2022

    Keng-Chi Chang is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Political Science. Before coming to UC San Diego, Keng-Chi did his undergraduate studies in economics at National Taiwan University. His major research interests include computational social science, political methodology, and the political economy of information. He is currently interested in studying how states might use visual memes to promote disinformation campaigns on social media.

  • Giulia Corno

    Giulia Corno

    2021 – 2022

    Giulia Corno is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Political Science. She received her bachelor’s of science degree in neuroscience and bachelor’s of arts degree in political science at the University of Southern California. Her research focuses on the intersection between science and democracy, bioethics and disability rights. Her current project studies the role of social scientific research and public opinion in supreme court decision making.

  • Ross Graham

    Ross Graham

    2021 – 2022

    Ross Graham is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Sociology and Science Studies Program. He also holds degrees in anthropology and sustainability. His research interests concern the public's ethical and policy views on technologies that pose an extinction risk to human beings. For his dissertation, he will examine lay perspectives on the normative ethics of longtermism.

  • Milana Kostic

    Milana Kostic

    2021 – 2022

    Milana Kostic is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Philosophy. Her main research interests lie at the intersection of natural language semantics, formal epistemology and philosophical logic. As a fellow at the Institute for Practical Ethics, she will be utilizing formal models developed in decision theory and formal epistemology to assess the value of research into geoengineering strategies.

  • Shirley (Xingyu) Liu

    Shirley (Xingyu) Liu

    2021 – 2022

    Shirley Liu is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the UC San Diego Department of Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and French at Pomona College, and her degree at the University of Edinburgh studying the relationship between perceived control and well-being across cultures.

    She is interested in judgement and decision-making, and cultural differences in social cognition, and she aspires to contribute to bridging philosophical and psychological theories of rational behavior. At the institute, she aims to explore whether self nudges can replace traditional nudges as a more ethical behavioral intervention to facilitate better decision-making.

  • Kennedy Pitcher

    Kennedy Pitcher

    2021 – 2022

    Kennedy Pitcher is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of Political Science. Kennedy received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College. Her research interests lie at the intersection of internet censorship and political methodology, with a specific focus on the political economy of censorship. Her current work studies how censorship approaches are strategically employed as methods of repression in response to domestic dissent.

  • Joe Riley

    Joe Riley

    2021 – 2022

    Joe Riley is a research-based artist and historian pursuing a Ph.D. in Art History, Theory and Criticism (art practice concentration) from the UC San Diego Department of Visual Arts, and the Program for Interdisciplinary Environmental Research at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    His writing focuses on the hydro-politics of knowledge, inclusion, and documentation in the ocean sciences, the commodification of ocean life forms such as kelp, and the design and engineering of seacraft, navigational systems and instruments. At the institute, Riley is researching the hydro-ethics of race and gender and the problem of documentation in oceanography.

  • Katherine Rittenhouse

    Katherine Rittenhouse

    2021 – 2022

    Katherine Rittenhouse is a Ph.D. candidate in the UC San Diego Department of Economics. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and law, letters and society from the University of Chicago, and her master’s degree in economics from UC San Diego. Her research involves causal analysis of child welfare institutions, with a particular focus on identifying sources of and solutions to racial disparities within those institutions.

  • Caryn K. Rubanovich

    Caryn K. Rubanovich

    2021 – 2022

    Caryn Kseniya Rubanovich is a Ph.D. student in the SDSU/UC San Diego Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology. She obtained her master’s degree in narrative medicine from Columbia University, and her bachelor’s degree in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. Caryn’s research focuses on the ethical, legal and social implications of emerging technologies in clinical care, as well as the societal-level impact of technology more broadly.

  • Akshita Sivakumar

    Akshita Sivakumar

    2021 – 2022

    Akshita Sivakumar (she/her) is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the UC San Diego Department of Communication and Science Studies Program. She studies the politics of representation, knowledge-making, and repair and maintenance in urban environments. In her current project, she questions how land and social relations might be reconfigured in more ethical ways when examined through the control and governance of airborne aerosols.

  • Matthew Soleiman

    Matthew Soleiman

    2021 – 2022

    Matthew Soleiman is a Ph.D. student in the UC San Diego Department of History and Science Studies Program. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology at UC San Diego and his master’s degree in neuroscience at the University of Washington. His work spans the history of the mind and brain sciences, the history of medicine, and STS. His dissertation research focuses on the study and treatment of pain from the Second World War to the present.

  • Udayan Tandon

    Udayan Tandon

    2021 – 2022

    Udayan Tandon is a Ph.D. Student in the UC San Diego Department of Computer Science. He is a part of the Design Lab and Feminist Labor Lab. His research interests lie in the opportunities and challenges of public software infrastructures, and he draws on design methods specifically related to participation and science and technology studies to interrogate them. Currently, he is interested in understanding the discourse and practices around security of technology in local government and its ethical implications on smart urban systems.

Visiting Scholars

  • Fernando Aguiar

    Fernando Aguiar

    July – December 2022

    Fernando Aguiar is a researcher at the Philosophy Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (IFS-CSIC). He is one of the founding members of the Spanish Association of Experimental Philosophy, and has been editor-in-chief of the JCR journal Revista Internacional de Sociología, president of the Spanish Analytical Sociology Group, and a visiting scholar at Oxford University and the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research.

    His research interests include experimental ethics, political philosophy and moral psychology. His current work focuses mainly on: the moral foundations of disgust, the moral value of effort, and AI ethics. In addition to publishing several articles on these and other topics, he has published the book “Una introducción a la ética experimental” (2020) with Antonio Gaitán and Hugo Viciana. He is also co-editor of “Issues in Experimental Moral Philosophy,” to be published in 2023.