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Welcome to the Center for Research on the Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Psychiatric, Neurologic and Behavioral Genetics. We are a group of researchers focused on understanding the implications of this exciting and rapidly developing area of genetics.

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Psychiatric, neurologic and behavioral (PNB) genetics present particular ethical, legal and social challenges for three main reasons: many PNB disorders and traits are highly stigmatized; uncovering genetic predispositions for PNB disorders and traits could have an impact on widely-held perceptions of responsibility for behavior; and many PNB disorders and traits are the result of complex interactions between a person’s genes and her environment, rendering the implications of this kind of genetic data inherently ambiguous. The overriding goal of our Center is to grapple with these challenges, thereby helping our society responsibly realize the promise of this area of genetics.

The Center is funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Established in 2013, it is designated as a Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal and Social Implications Research.

The Center has the following four aims:

Research: Undertake a focused program of research that explores the impact of PNB genetic information at the individual, familial and societal levels, considering its effect on stigma and self-image, attributions of responsibility, and responses to ambiguity, along with systematic consideration of the broader normative and translational implications of our findings.
Translation: Create robust mechanisms to translate the empirical and normative output of our research into recommendations for policy and practice, capitalizing on the involvement of other experts and key stakeholder groups.
Training: Develop a multidisciplinary post-doctoral training program focused on nurturing future leaders in ethical, legal, and social research, creating an environment that facilitates cross-disciplinary learning and research and draws on outstanding mentors and teachers.

Organization: Create a structure that builds on our existing strengths and accomplishments to enhance transdisciplinary collaboration, facilitate the conduct of innovative research, and foster intellectual growth among both faculty and trainees.