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Dr Emily Postan

Emily Postan profile picture

Chancellor's Fellow in Bioethics

Deputy Director of the Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law

Office hours:

By Appointment


View my publications

Emily Postan is a Chancellor's Fellow in Bioethics and a Deputy Director of the Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law, with lead responsibility for the Institute’s policy engagement portfolio.


Emily is an interdisciplinary bioethicist with a background in philosophy.

Her main research focus lies in interrogating the roles played by biomedical technologies, personal information, and health informatics in our identities, and in characterising the ethical significance of these roles. Her wider research interests encompass:

  • Data ethics
  • AI ethics
  • Neuroethics
  • Genomic and reproductive ethics
  • Regulation of health research.

From 2017-2021 Emily was a Senior Research Fellow on the Wellcome-funded project, Confronting the Liminal Spaces of Health Research Regulation. During this time she was a member of the Scottish Feminist Judgments Project. In 2018 Emily delivered the Rising Star lecture at the annual meeting of the International Neuroethics Society. She was project leader for the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ 2013 Novel Neurotechnologies report. Emily received her doctorate from the University of Edinburgh in 2017. She has philosophy degrees from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Stirling, and an LLM from the University of Edinburgh. She spent an intervening decade working in policy management at the Scottish Government.

Emily’s monograph Embodied Narratives: Protecting Identity Interests through Ethical Governance of Bioinformation is published by Cambridge University Press in July 2022. This book establishes the ethical imperative for information disclosure practices to take seriously the impacts on our identity-constituting narratives of our encounters with bioinformation about ourselves. Further details and online access can be found here.

Current projects

Emily’s current research project, Identity by Algorithm: Ethical Impacts of Categorisation by Health AI applies questions of identity and belonging to discussions of AI ethics in the context of big health data and the ways that we might be classified or re-described using these data. Further details of this project can be found here.


Emily teaches on our on-campus and online distance learning Medical Law and Ethics LLM programmes. She is a lead tutor on the following postgraduate courses:

  • Fundamental Issues in Bioethics
  • Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (not running in 2021/22)

Emily will be on research leave during the academic year 2022/23.

Doctoral supervision

Emily welcomes expressions of interest on research questions relating to bioethics, medical ethics, and her particular research interests listed above.

Current supervisees:


Emily also welcomes media inquiries on bioethics topics and is happy to discuss where the Mason Institute could offer policy advice on matters related to medical law and bioethics. She can be reached at