Professor Effy Vayena is Chair of Bioethics, at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETHZ) and renowned expert at the intersection of medicine, data, and ethics. Her work focuses on important societal issues of data and technology as they relate to scientific progress and how it is or should be applied to public and personal health.
A keen interest in health policy has led her to work with the World Health Organization on ethical questions around reproductive medicine and research. Upon her return to academia, Vayena helped establish and coordinated the PhD program in Biomedical Ethics and Law at University of Zurich and was subsequently awarded a professorship by the Swiss National Science Foundation.
As a professor of health policy she founded the Health Ethics and Policy Lab to tackle pressing questions that arise through technological advances such as genomic technologies in healthcare and research. She received her habilitation from the University of Zurich in the field of bioethics and policy and has been appointed a Visiting Professor at the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and a Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where she was previously a Fellow.
Effy Vayena believes in the value of interdisciplinarity and the application of practical knowledge to investigate ethical questions of personalised health. Her widely recognised research has allowed her to collaborate and build strong relationships with a variety of scholars in Switzerland and from renowned institutions abroad.
Vayena is a leading expert in the dynamic and diverse field of health data and ethics, successfully leveraging her international network to promote a fruitful debate about the ethics of health in the digital age. She has previously worked with the Wellcome Trust, OECD, Commonwealth Fund, Chatham House, and academic institutions and governments around the world. She was born in Greece and studied medicine history, public health and bioethics at universities in Athens, London, Minnesota and Harvard. From 2000-2007 she worked as a technical manager for the WHO in the field of reproductive medicine and ethics. Since 2007 she has been a research associate and coordinator of the PhD program in biomedical ethics and law at the University of Zurich. She is researching, among others, the ethics of personalized medicine, the moral question of genetic testing, and the ethical challenges of using Big Data within health research and clinical practice.