My Story

This is an extended narrative overview of my educational and professional activities since 2004. Click here for a short bio or link to my CV. Read on for the "full story" -- that is, expanded background on my education and career highlights, both as an academic and (in my past life) an actor/singer, from high school until today.   

In 2004, I graduated from Shorecrest High School in Shoreline, Washington (a smallish town-turned-city outside Seattle in the Pacific Northwest of the United States). My junior year (and again senior year) I won the statewide 5th Avenue Theater Award for "Best Actor" in a high school production. I then spent a year working as a professional actor and singer in the "big city" of Seattle before heading to the East Coast as a first-generation college student. 

My undergraduate degree was in cognitive science with a concentration in philosophy from Yale University. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2010 with distinction in the major. At Yale, I was President of the Yale Philosophy Society, Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Philosophy Review, and founding Editor of the Yale Review of Undergraduate Research in Psychology. I was also a member of the Yale Dramatic Association, performing in many plays and musicals, and went on a singing tour with the 100th Anniversary Yale Whiffenpoofs (here's my rendition of "Down by the Sally Gardens"). At graduation, I was awarded the Robert G. Crowder Prize for my senior research project in experimental psychology, and the Ledyard Cogswell Award for citizenship from Calhoun College (now Grace Hopper College). 

I next attended the University of Oxford, at New College, on a Henry Fellowship, having also been selected as an alternate for the UK Fulbright Award. I graduated in 2011 with a Master of Science degree in psychological research on the taught course. During my studies I also worked part-time as an actor, including portraying T. S. Elliot in a local production of Tom & Viv (here's a review). Upon concluding the degree, I began as a Research Associate (subsequently Research Fellow) in the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, with additional research affiliations at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics, Institute for Science and Ethics, and Programme on Mind and Machine.

Between 2011 and 2013, I continued my research associations with Oxford on a part-time basis while living in Poland and then Germany, working primarily on a co-authored book manuscript with Julian Savulescu, the Uehiro Chair in Practical Ethics at Oxford. This book was eventually published as Love Drugs: The Chemical Future of Relationships (Stanford University Press, 2020; the UK version has a slightly different title and is published by Manchester University Press). During this period I returned to the theater, traveling intermittently to the US to perform the roles of Leo Bloom in the The Producers at the Village Theater (review) and Melchior Gabor in the West Coast regional premiere of Spring Awakening (review).

In 2014 I returned to England for a second master's degree, this time in the history, philosophy, and sociology of science, technology, and medicine at the University of Cambridge (Trinity College). My dissertation focused on the World Health Organization policy on female genital mutilation; a version of this research was later published in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal as a target article with invited commentaries. I then spent the better part of a year living in-residence as the inaugural Presidential Scholar in bioethics at The Hastings Center in Garrison, New York, before taking a break in 2015 to rehearse and perform the role of Clifford Bradshaw in a production of Cabaret directed by Pulitzer prize-winner Brian Yorkey (review).

In the fall of that year, I returned to Yale University to pursue a joint doctorate degree in philosophy and psychology. Within philosophy, I was supervised by Joshua Knobe, with additional significant mentorship from Robin Dembroff; in psychology I was supervised by Molly Crockett, with additional significant mentorship from Margaret Clark. I successfully defended my dissertation -- a collection of experimental studies and philosophical writings on relational moral psychology, normative inference, and the ordinary concept of true love -- in the summer of 2021. Paul Bloom served as the committee chair. 

In January of 2022, I started at Oxford as a Senior Research Fellow in Moral Psychology at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics within the Faculty of Philosophy, where I co-founded and currently direct, with Joanna Demaree-Cotton, the Oxford Experimental Bioethics Lab. I was also made an honorary faculty member of the Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology, where I taught and mentored students in social and moral psychology. During this time, I was elected to the UK Young Academy under the auspices of the Royal Society. I was also a William Golding Junior Research Fellow at Brasenose College. 

In 2023, I was awarded tenure at age 37 and accepted the position of Associate Professor of Biomedical Ethics within the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore (NUS), with an additional appointment as Associate Professor of Philosophy by courtesy. At NUS, I serve as Director of the international Oxford-NUS Centre for Neuroethics and Society, Director of Social Psychology and Experimental Bioethics, and, via Oxford, Director of HOPE: The Hub at Oxford for Psychedelic Ethics, which I co-founded in 2023 with David B. Yaden, the Roland R. Griffiths Professor of Psychedelic Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.