Meet James Giordano, PhD

James Giordano
Headshot of James Giordano

James Giordano, PhD, is chief of the Neuroethics Studies Program and senior scholar in residence at the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics, and Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Biochemistry at the Georgetown University Medical Center. He is also senior bioethicists with the the Defense Medical Ethics Center of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, engaging directly with the Defense Health Administration and the Department of Navy, Army and Air Force Medicine on issues relevant to both research and practice within the military that evoke ethical, legal and social concerns.

Giordano was a US Naval Aerospace Physiologist and served with the United States Marine Corps, where he was detailed to evaluate electronic and biological weapons systems, and human performance optimization, with particular emphasis upon how current and emerging scientific methods and technologies might be used  or misused in such ways. He has also worked with the Federal Government and international governments, on issues from healthcare to multinational global biosecurity, inclusive of the oversight, surveillance, regulation, guidance and governance of biological and chemical weapons.

His works articulates the scientific and philosophical approaches to explore questions about the brain~mind relationship, emotions, thought and behavior, and the ethical issues that arise in and from such studies and their applications. On the scientific side, he addresses how thinking beings engage moral thought and processes of moral decision making, and how the tools and technologies of brain sciences are utilized in the social sphere, in areas such as medicine, public life, wellness, global security, biosafety, public health and the military. On the philosophical side, he inquires on the moral, ethical and legal implications and effects that that knowledge and capability confers.

At the Pellegrino Center, Giordano has collaborated with the academic community both nationally and internationally to address the ethical opportunities and challenges of bioscience and technology in the 21st century at a multinational scale, in ways that strive to establish positive discourse in bringing together different systems of value, and belief. Through a cosmopolitan approach to ethics, his work highlights the need to engage with multiple cultures on the global stage, in order to appreciate the diverse histories, needs, values and ideologies that are important to the share- and stakeholders of scientific and technological developments.

One of the principal projects of his research group at the Pellegrino Center examines the ethical responsibilities of the arts in apprehending and communicating the essence of science and technology in society, and posing -and thus prompting contemplation of- “what if”, and exploring different possibilities regarding scientific and technological developments.

Giordano is the author of over 300 publications, 7 books, and 20 government whitepapers on neurotechnology, biosecurity, and ethics, he is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Philosophy, Ethics and Humanities in Medicine; and Associate Editor of the Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics.

Featured media, scholarship, and events

Human body made up of sticks and dots, representing its atoms and molecules

“Balancing Act: Precision Medicine and National Security”

December 30th, 2021

James Giordano and Diane DiEuliis describe current scientific and technological developments in precision medicine. They assess the risks of using these tools and capabilities to exert disruptive influence upon human health, economics, social structure, military capabilities and global dimensions of power.…

“Professional Attitudes toward the Use of Neuromodulatory Technologies in Mexico: Insight for Neuroethical Considerations of Cultural Diversity”

December 10th, 2020

James Giordano and his co-authors present their research on mental health clinicians’ and researchers’ perceptions and concerns regarding the use of neuromodulatory techniques in Mexico, as compared to those reported in the international literature, and examine if there are also specific local neuroethical, legal, socio-cultural issues relevant to such distinctions or similarities.…

Brain-shaped nebula

“The Emerging Neurobioeconomy: Implications for National Security”

August 19th, 2020

James Giordano and his co-authors examine growth of the neuroscience and neurotechnology market in recent years. They discuss the distinct ethical and security issues posed by neurobioeconomy, provide examples of such issues, and propose a risk assessment and mitigation approach.…

Policemen in Seattle wearing masks

“Beyond 1918: Bringing Pandemic Response into the Present, and Future”, James Giordano, Diane DiEuliis, Peter Emanuel and Alexander Titus Write for the Institute for National Strategic Studies

April 27th, 2020

Dr. James Giordano, Diane DiEuliis, Peter Emanuel and Alexander Titus study the 1918 pandemic, and re-contextualize the issues, problems and solutions of the past in light of the circumstances, capabilities and complexities of the present, considering the technical tools that are currently available for pandemic response, information acquisition, and issues of governmental transparency and communication in the face of public fear.…

Person wearing a mask, holding a piece of metal with the words "Please keep a safe social distance"

“How to Reopen America”, James Giordano’s Expert Opinion on CNN

March 27th, 2020

To answer the urgent question of “How to reopen America”, CNN presents the expert opinions of Dr. James Giordano and Dr. Daniel M. Gerstein, suggesting “creative approaches to protecting those who are vulnerable, while keeping our society functioning and economy running”.…

James Giordano presenting his work on COVID-19 Demonstration and Lessons of Multiple-Order Biosecurity Risks and Threats

COVID-19: Demonstration and Lessons of Multiple-Order Biosecurity Risks and Threats

March 26th, 2020

James Giordano presented his work on “COVID-19: Demonstration and Lessons of Multiple-Order Biosecurity Risks and Threats” at the “Combating Global Coronavirus: From Isolation to International Cooperation” conference, which focused on the growing concern of the world community with consequences of the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.…

MRIs of the brain

“Mapping the Past, Present, and Future of Brain Research to Navigate Directions, Dangers, and Discourses of Dual-Use”

December 16th, 2019

Working towards the goal of fostering effective biosecurity strategies to include emerging fields like neuroscience and neurotechnology (neuroS/T), James Giordano and Joseph DeFranco identify two general approaches that can be used to monitor brain science research, to facilitate the detection of dual and direct-use biological threats as they relate to advancements in brain sciences.…

Graffiti of the brain

“Looking Ahead: The Importance of Views, Values, and Voices in Neuroethics—Now”

September 10th, 2018

In light of the developments the body-to-head transplant (BHT) in China, which have attracted considerable attention and criticism, Dr. James Giordano reflects about the evermore international enterprise of brain science, and the need for neuroethical discourse to include and appreciate multicultural views, values, and voices.…