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Former Researchers of the Institute

Past Research Scholars


Ramya M. Rajagopalan

Ramya M. Rajagopalan’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. 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.

Past Postdoctoral Scholars


Amy Zhou

2018 – 2019

Amy Zhou earned her bachelor's degree and Ph.D. in sociology from UCLA. She is a medical sociologist interested in health inequalities in the United States and global setting. At the institute, Zhou conducted research on the social and ethical implications of gene drive technologies. After her scholarship was complete, she become an assistant professor in the sociology department at Barnard College.


Daniel Callies

2018 – 2021

Daniel Edward Callies received his bachelor's and master's degrees in philosophy from San Diego State University, and his Ph.D. at Goethe University Frankfurt. Daniel defended his dissertation “On the Ethics and Politics of Climate Engineering,” then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Goethe University until joining the Institute for Practical Ethics. He left to pursue a clinical ethics fellowship with the Health Ethics Center at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.


Jacob Sparks

2019 – 2020

Jacob Sparks earned a bachelor's degree in physics from Tufts University and a Ph.D. in applied philosophy from Bowling Green State University. After his time with the institute, he became an assistant professor in the philosophy department at California Polytechnic State University. At the institute, Sparks worked on ethical issues surrounding privacy and automation.


April Hovav

2019 – 2021

April Hovav earned a Ph.D. in sociology with a certificate in gender studies from the University of Southern California. After her time with the institute, she accepted a postdoc position at Occidental College. At the Institute for Practical Ethics, she conducted research on the social and ethical implications of using gene drive technologies to combat malaria.


Athmeya Jayaram

2019 – 2021

Athmeya Jayaram earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Amherst College and a Ph.D. in political theory at the University of California Berkeley. After his time with the institute, Jayaram accepted a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow at the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins University. Athmeya’s research concerns the justice and justification of emerging technologies.

Past Visiting Graduate Students

Daniel Trusilo

Daniel Trusilo


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

Past UC San Diego Ph.D. Fellows

  • Fenghua Chen

    Fenghua Chen

    2022 - 2023

    Fenghua Chen is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology studying economic sociology, medical sociology and gender. Prior to her Ph.D., Chen earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tsinghua University, an MPhil in sociology from the University of Cambridge, and an master’s degree in sociology from Columbia University.

    At the institute, she will explore the ethical and social implications of transitional reproductive care, with a focus on egg freezing practices in the United States and China. She is particularly interested in understanding how assisted reproductive technology (ART) markets are reinforcing cultural norms about gender, family and kinship in a global context.

  • Alec J. Calac

    Alec J. Calac

    2021 – 2022
  • Keng-Chi Chang

    Keng-Chi Chang

    2021 – 2022
  • Giulia Corno

    Giulia Corno

    2021 – 2022
  • Milana Kostic

    Milana Kostic

    2021 – 2022
  • Shirley (Xingyu) Liu

    Shirley (Xingyu) Liu

    2021 – 2022
  • Kennedy Pitcher

    Kennedy Pitcher

    2021 – 2022
  • Joe Riley

    Joe Riley

    2021 – 2022
  • Katherine Rittenhouse

    Katherine Rittenhouse

    2021 – 2022
  • Caryn K. Rubanovich

    Caryn K. Rubanovich

    2021 – 2022
  • Akshita Sivakumar

    Akshita Sivakumar

    2021 – 2022
  • Matthew Soleiman

    Matthew Soleiman

    2021 – 2022
  • Udayan Tandon

    Udayan Tandon

    2021 – 2022
  • Samantha Berthelette

    Samantha Berthelette

    2020 – 2021
  • Tarun Kalluri

    Tarun Kalluri

    2020 – 2021
  • Elizabeth Mayes

    Elizabeth Mayes

    2020 – 2021
  • Ke Nie

    Ke Nie

    2020 – 2021
  • Eddie Yang

    Eddie Yang

    2020 – 2021
  • Keyao Yang

    Keyao Yang

    2020 – 2021
  • Jacob Zellmer

    Jacob Zellmer

    2020 – 2021
  • Colin M. Burke

    Colin M. Burke

    2019 – 2020
  • Davide Carpano

    Davide Carpano

    2019 – 2020
  • Eugene Chua

    Eugene Chua

    2019 – 2020
  • Daniel Driscoll

    Daniel Driscoll

    2019 – 2020
  • Ross Graham

    Ross Graham

    2019 – 2020
  • Mohammad Khamsya Bin Khidzer

    Mohammad Khamsya Bin Khidzer

    2019 – 2020
  • Cami Koepke

    Cami Koepke

    2019 – 2020
  • Chuncheng Liu

    Chuncheng Liu

    2019 – 2020

    As of March 2023, Chuncheng Liu has accepted a one-year postdoctoral research appointment at Microsoft Research and an appointment as Assistant Professor in Sociology and Communication (joint appointment) at Northeastern University in Boston, which he will begin after his year at Microsoft Research.

  • Edward Randolph

    Edward Randolph

    2019 – 2020
  • Sarah Stembridge

    Sarah Stembridge

    2019 – 2020
  • Ann Thresher

    Ann Thresher

    2019 – 2020
  • Jada Wiggleton-Little

    Jada Wiggleton-Little

    2019 – 2020
  • Bolun Zhang

    Bolun Zhang

    2019 – 2020
  • JiMin Kwon

    JiMin Kwon

    2018 – 2019
  • Riley I. Taitingfong

    Riley I. Taitingfong

    2018 – 2019

Past 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). His research interests include experimental ethics, political philosophy and moral psychology.
  • Megan Blomfield

    Megan Blomfield

    March – April 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 in May 2019.
  • Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

    Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick

    January 2020 – January 2021

    Austin Choi-Fitzpatrick is an author, educator and speaker. His work focuses on politics, culture, technology and social change. His recent books include "The Good Drone" (MIT Press, 2020) and "What Slaveholders Think" (Columbia, 2017), with shorter work appearing in Al Jazeera, the Guardian, Aeon, and Slate. Austin lives in California and holds academic appointments in the United States (University of San Diego) and England (University of Nottingham).
  • Bryan Cwik

    Bryan Cwik

    September – December 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.
  • Sofia Efstathiou

    Sofia Efstathiou

    April – July 2018

    Sophia Efstathiou was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. She works in philosophy of science, ethics of technology and art-based approaches to philosophy and responsible research and innovation.

  • Saveetha Meganathan

    Saveetha Meganathan

    October 2019 – September 2021

    Saveetha Meganathan is a research scientist at the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society in Bangalore, India. She has consulted for Give2Asia, a nonprofit helping communities meet philanthropic goals. At the institute, Saveetha researched the ethics of gene drives as it relates to India.

  • S. Andrew Schroeder

    S. Andrew Schroeder

    July 2020 – December 2021

    S. Andrew Schroeder an associate professor of philosophy at Claremont McKenna College. His research and teaching cover a range of topics in ethics, political philosophy, bioethics, the philosophy of disability and the philosophy of science. Schroeder was the recipient of the Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2020, from the American Council of Learned Societies.
  • Elliott Sober

    Elliott Sober

    January – March 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.
  • Thilo Hagendorff

    Thilo Hagendorff

    November – December 2021

    Thilo Hagendorff is a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Tuebingen's Cluster of Excellence "Machine Learning" (Germany). He is an expert in applied ethics, especially technology and AI ethics. His research concerns methodological questions of AI ethics as well as specific subfields like industry involvement, publications norms, quality data, or privacy in AI research.
  • Cedric Whitney

    Cedric Whitney

    September 2019 – May 2020

    Cedric Whitney earned a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Delaware, before working in process automation for Bloomberg and as a senior partnership manager for a leading health AI start-up, Owkin. His research interests are focused on digital inequalities, and specifically on how expertise and accountability play a role.
  • Eric Winsberg

    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.