Congratulations to Kowe Kadoma from Florida A&M University for completing the Center for Neurotechnology's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Washington!
The UW Center for Neurotechnology sponsors a 10-week Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program during the summer. This program provides undergraduate students with opportunities to work on research projects with specialists in the CNT. Undergraduate students selected to the program are placed in a lab of their choice and paired with a CNT member with a similar area of study who can support their research endeavors.
This summer, I served as Kowe's advisor on her neuroethics project entitled “Reconsidering Lack of Social Support as Exclusion Criterion for Neurotechnology Research Participation.” Her aim was to interrogate the moral appropriateness of using lack of social support to exclude candidates from research participation, which she found to be seriously problematic. Social support is a criterion that is often used to determine the eligibility of candidates who seek to participate in experimental trials. Kowe argued that it is unjust to use social support as a criterion for exclusion in non-therapeutic, clinical trials. Although excluding potential participants on the basis of social support is not denying them access to life-saving treatment, excluding potential participants because of their social support (or lack thereof) would narrow the generalizability of the findings, especially when the criterion would exclude indirectly historically vulnerable populations. This could lead to persistent health disparities and development of therapies that are not effective to all people.