The G-SCT studies scientific, policy, and ethical challenges encountered in transforming laboratory discoveries into medical applications. Our methods include meta-analysis of preclinical and clinical studies, experiment, surveys and ethnographies of researchers, and philosophical analysis (among others). Team-members are based at various institutions and drawn from epidemiology, preclinical research, clinical research, philosophy, bioethics, and various social sciences.
Jonathan Kimmelman, director
Jonathan Kimmelman is Associate Professor in the Biomedical Ethics Unit / Social Studies of Medicine and direct G-SCT. His research centers on the intersection of scientific practice and ethics; various writings on clinical translation have appeared in venues like Science, Lancet, and BMJ. Currently, Kimmelman is pursuing 3 different research programs: 1- study of preclinical research practices; 2- study of practices in mid-stages of clinical development; 3- development of a more robust framework for research ethics. When not writing grants or responding to referee comments, he listens to contemporary music.
Benjamin "Murph" Carlisle
Benjamin Carlisle earned his MA in bioethics from McGill University. His MA thesis was a critique of phase IV drug studies. He was third author on a paper based loosely on this work, which was published in Science. Prior to coming to McGill, he studied philosophy at the University of Western Ontario. Currently, he is working on a comparison of the risk and benefit for patients in two cohorts of drugs—ones that made it to licensure and ones that have been abandoned during the development process. He plays on the McGill University Quidditch team and has an interest in virtue ethics.
Carole Federico is a graduate student in the Bioethics Master’s Program at McGill and holds a B.Sc. from the University of British Columbia in Biopsychology. Her master’s thesis examines the availability of preclinical evidence for agents entering clinical translation. Carole will begin her doctoral studies under Dr. Kimmelman in January 2013, extending her master’s work to characterize the continuity of evidence for biomedical interventions, from preclinical research to late-phase clinical trials. In her free time, Carole enjoys reading, studying French, and psychoanalyzing her recently adopted cat, Smushy.
Georgina Freeman completed the Bioethics Master’s Program at McGill, and enjoyed it so much she decided to stay on and work as a Research Assistant on Dr. Kimmelman's team. Her master's thesis explored justifications of risk in early phase cancer trials involving invasive research procedures. A series of articles based on her thesis work have been published in such journals as Clinical Cancer Research. Georgina's current projects include: Tracking risk, benefit and translational outcomes over the development of licensed or abandoned pain, cancer, neurological and cardiovascular drugs, solving mysteries, and amateur detection.
Valerie Henderson completed her M.Sc. in Biochemistry at McGill before hanging up her lab coat and joining Dr. Kimmelman's research team in January 2012. Her Master's thesis investigated the biological function of the protein 4EHP in mammalian embryonic development. During her B.Sc. at the University of Ottawa, Valerie sampled diverse areas of research including soil physics, plant biology, environmental microbiology, and fungal pathology. Currently, in addition to finding her bearings in bioethics, Valerie works to develop methods for the systematic review and meta-analysis of data from preclinical experiments in animal models. Her research with Dr. Kimmelman focuses on how design and experimental practices used at the preclinical level influence the rate of clinical success during drug development. Valerie wishes that all rooms were about 5 degrees warmer.
Spencer Phillips Hey
Dr. Hey is a postdoctoral fellow working with Jonathan Kimmelman in the Biomedical Ethics Unit at McGill University. He received his PhD in Philosophy in 2011 from Western University. He obtained his BA (Hons) in Philosophy from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2004. His research interests include philosophy of science (especially medicine), research ethics, and the logic of heuristic research strategies. Prior to his fellowship at McGill, he collaborated with Charles Heilig, at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to create a graph-theoretic model for representing the accumulating state of evidence across a clinical research trajectory.
Dr. Hey is currently working with the STREAM Research Group on developing new ways to study and evaluate the efficiency of translational trajectories in drug development.