Emily Postan

'Defining Ourselves: self-construction and the governance of personal biological information'

MA, MLitt, LLM

Biography

Educational background

LLM (Distinction) in Innovation and Technology Law, University of Edinburgh School of Law 

MLitt by Research, title: 'The Coherent Self', Department of Philosophy, University of Stirling

MA (Hons) in Mental Philosophy, University of Edinburgh - 1st Class honours

Doctoral research topic

My research investigates the potential value of personal biological information to individuals for the purpose of developing their self-conceptions, and the extent to which this identity-based value is, or could practicably be, recognised in the oversight of how this information is generated and handled.

I hope to throw light on a gap in the principles underlying the governance of bioinformation:  as long as the interests of information subjects that are seen as most relevant here are limited to autonomy, privacy and health-outcomes, this not only fails to acknowledge that the impacts of information on identity could raise comparably significant concerns, but also overlooks the possibility that self-construction might be a large part of what makes autonomy and privacy valuable in the first place. I also want to make clear the possible challenges and pitfalls of seeking to protect identity-based informational interests using the law.

My research is literature-based with a substantial theoretical component, drawing on philosophy and sociology as well as legal analysis.

Publications:

Emily Postan. "Book review: Governing Biobanks: Understanding the Interplay between Law and Practice, written by Jane Kaye, Susan M C Gibbons, Catherine Heeney, Michael Parker and Andrew Smart" (2014) European Journal of Health Law 21(2)

Laurie, Graeme, and Emily Postan. "RHETORIC OR REALITY: WHAT IS THE LEGAL STATUS OF THE CONSENT FORM IN HEALTH-RELATED RESEARCH?" Medical law review (2012).

Other research projects:

Project leader: Nuffield Council on Bioethics Novel Neurotechnologies: intervening in the brain (2013)

Research assistant on Wellcome Trust funded study on reconsent in longitudinal health research (Project leads: Prof Graeme Laurie (Edinburgh) & Prof Mary Dixon-Woods (Leicester)) (2011-2012)

Co-developer: Scottish Informatics Programme (SHIP) Information Governance Toolkit (2011)

Presentions and posters:

'Picking the Right Tools; the role of bioinformation in identity construction' - working paper delivered in the University of Manchester, Centre for Social Ethics and Policy (CSEP) seminar series  - 4 December 2013 

'Novel Neurotechnologies' - invited speaker at the Swedish National Council on Medical Ethics annual conference, Stockholm, 23 October 2013

'Neuroenhancement and Novel Neurotechnologies' - invited panel member at 24th ESC Conference, Berlin, 6 September 2013

'Biology matters, but does protecting biological self-definition necessarily entail biological essentialism?' - poster at IAB 12th World Congress of Bioethics, Rotterdam, 28 June 2012

'Building oneself from biology: the value and risks of recognising the contribution of personal biological information to self-conception' 6th Annual Postgraduate Conference In Bioethics, London, 2 May 2012

Other roles:

Covenor of the Mason Institute Biomedial Law and Ethics Reading Group (2013/14)

Chair and co-convenor of 'Challenging Individualism' workshop at the University of Edinburgh Legal Theory Research Group and Centre for Law and Society Spring Festival, 29 May 2012