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Effy Vayena


Ph.D. – Professor of Bioethics
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Effy Vayena, Ph.D., studied Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota (USA) and completed her habilitation in Bioethics and Health Policy at the University of Zurich. From 2000-2007 she worked at the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2007, she returned to academia at the University of Zurich and in 2015 she was named Swiss National Science Foundation Professor of Health Policy at the Department of Public Health (EBPI). She founded the Health Ethics and Policy Lab which she continues to lead at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich as the chair of bioethics. Her current research focus is on ethical and policy questions in personalized medicine and digital health. At the intersection of multiple fields, she relies on normative analyses and empirical methods to explore how values such as freedom of choice, participation and privacy are affected by recent developments in personalized medicine and in digitalisation. She is particularly interested in the issues of ethical oversight of research uses of big data, ethical uses of big data for global health, as well as the ethics of citizen science. Using the ethics lens in innovative ways, her work aims to provide concrete policy recommendations and frameworks that facilitate the use of new technologies for a better and more just health. Her work has been used in developing public policy and she consults frequently for WHO and the OECD. 

She is visiting faculty at the Harvard Center for Bioethics and faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Centre for Internet & Society at Harvard University.