Projects / Publications

Research interest

  • Ethical and societal implications of emerging trends in human-computer interaction; esp. robotics, brain-computer interfacing, neural implants and deep-brain stimulation

  • Participatory models of technology design for intelligent assistive technologies for dementia and cognitive decline

  • Neuroenhancement and Transhumanism

  • Neuroethics, esp. ethics of neurosecurity

  • Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence

  • Ethics of Psychiatry, esp. ethics of forensic psychiatry


2014 — present
PhD in Biomedical Ethics (Dr. sc. med.); Faculty of Medicine, Institute for Biomedical Ethics, University of Basel (Switzerland).

2013 — 2014
Erasmus Mundus Master of Bioethics (MSc); Partner Universities (Joint Degree): Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (The Netherlands) and Università Degli Studi di Padova (Italy). Grade: “Summa cum Laude”.

2012 — 2013
Visiting Student, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Neural Sciences, Department of Philosophy; New York University (USA).

2011 — 2013

Master of Philosophy (MA), Neurophilosophy track, Humboldt University of Berlin and Berlin School of Mind & Brain (Germany). Grade: 1,3.

2009 — 2010
Erasmus Exchange Program, Department of Philosophy, Department of Psychology; Free University of Berlin (Germany)

2007 — 2010
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Knowledge (MA), University of Rome La Sapienza; Italy. Grade: 110/110 cum laude

Continuing Education

Zurich Winter School on Human Enhancement, University of Zurich (Switzerland).

Winter School „Law & Neuroscience‟, European Center for Law, Science and Technology, University of Pavia (Italy).

Philosophy of Biology in the UK, Oxford University, UK.

BCCN Berlin Winter School „Ethics & Neuroscience‟, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Germany.

Professional Experience

2012 Present
Scienza Live (Italian Network for Science Communication and Public Understanding of Science), Founder and Administrator

2012 — 2014
Hot-Tec GmbH, Berlin (Germany), Consultant.

2011 — 2012
Intern at the Embassy of the Italian Republic in Germany, Berlin, Press, Media and IT Department.

Awards and Scholarships

Best Master’s Thesis Award from Erasmus Mundus Masters of Bioethics. Thesis’ title: “Hacking the Mind: Dual-Use of Brain-Computer Interfaces and Cybersecurity”;

Honor Medal from Katholishe Universitait Leuven (Belgium)

09/2013 08/2014
Erasmus Mundus Scholar, European Commission Funded (10.000 €)

Scholarship for Integrative Research in Philosophy and Neuroscience, Barbara-Wengeler Stiftung, München (Germany)

Visiting Scholarship, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Philosophy, New York University (USA)

Visiting Scholarship, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Department of Neural Science, New York University (USA)


Ienca M., Hacking the Brain: Brain-Computer Interfacing, Social Responsibility and the Ethics of Neurosecurity, Montreal Neuroethics Conference for Young Researchers (4/17/2015), Institute de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, Montreal (Canada)

Ienca M. & Jotterand F., The Robot and the Elder. Emerging Possibilities and Challenges of Artificial Intelligence for Dementia Care, (4/9-10/2015). Lisbon (Portugal)

Ienca M., Neurotechnology: The Other Side of Neuroenhancement, Winter School on Human Enhancement (3/4-7/2015), University of Zurich, Zurich (Switzerland)

Ienca M. & van der Burg S., Dual-Use in Brain-Computer Interfacing Research, International Conference on Neuroethics (5/13-15/2014), University of Padova, Padua (Italy)

Ienca M., Nerve Growth Factor: Neuroscience Research for Healthy and Successful Ageing, Conferenza in Memoria di Rita Levi Montalcini (invited speaker) (4/30/2014), Cittadella Mediterranea della Scienza, Bari (Italy).

Ienca M., Human-Computer Interaction and the Extended Mind, Philosophisches Kolloquium (7/2/2012), Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Berlin (Germany) 


European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Health Care

Italian Society of Neuroethics


Italian (native speaker)

German (high proficiency: DSH-3)

English (high proficiency: TOEFL iBT 111/120)

Spanish (understanding; Instituto Cervantes B2 Certificate)

Programming languages: HTML, Java


Marcello Ienca

Institute for
Biomedical Ethics

Universität Basel
Bernoullistrasse 28
CH-4056 Basel

Tel. +41 61 207 02 03
Fax +41 61 207 17 80