Dr. Judy Illes

Professor (tenure) 

Associate Faculty, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia
Associate Faculty, School of Journalism, University of British Columbia
Associate Faculty, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington




(604) 822-0746



Biography & Research Interest:

Dr. Illes is Professor of Neurology, Distinguished University Scholar, and UBC Distinguished Professor in Neuroethics. She is Director of Neuroethics Canada, and faculty in the Centre for Brain Health and at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. In addition to her primary appointment in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC, Dr. Illes holds associate appointments in Population and Public Health and in Journalism at UBC, and in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, USA. She is Vice Chair of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Advisory Board of the Institute on Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction, Director-at-Large of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, and co-Lead of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy (www.canadianbrain.ca). She served as Vice Chair of the Standing Committee on Ethics of CIHR from 2013-2021. Dr. Illes held the Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics from 2007-2021. She received her PhD in Hearing and Speech Sciences, and in Neuropsychology at Stanford University, and is a pioneer of the field of neuroethics formally established in early 2000.

Dr. Illes’ research, teaching and outreach initiatives are devoted to ethical, legal, social and policy challenges at the intersection of the brain sciences and biomedical ethics. She has made ground breaking contributions to neuroethical thinking for neuroscience discovery and clinical translation across the life span, and to entrepreneurship and the commercialization of health care.

Dr. Illes received the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest awards for citizens, in 2017. She was elected to the Royal Society of Canada (Division of Life Sciences), and the American Association of Advancement of Science (AAAS, Division of Neuroscience) in 2012.  She is also an elected member of the International Women’s Forum, an organization of more than 7000 women leaders around the world. Her latest books, a series on Developments in Neuroethics and Bioethics, feature pain, global mental health, do-it-yourself brain devices, and neuro-law.

She writes frequently for the Vancouver Sun and Canada’s The Conversation Canada, and hosts community outreach about challenging ethical problems involving biomedicine and the brain throughout BC and across the country.