Skip navigation Jump to main navigation

Fall 2020 Advisory

Find the latest information on SPS's plans for the Fall and University resources. COVID-19 Resource Guide.
Close alert

Molly Lucas: Studying the Interface Between Science and Ethics

At SPS Molly...

  • Balanced two post graduate programs
  • Studied Bioethics and her Post Baccalaureate Premed
  • Gained skills in traditional core science classes
  • Learned approaches to current biomedical issues
  • Applied for and won an exciting position…

You came to SPS straight from undergrad at Yale. Did you have a career in mind?

My undergraduate thesis involved an fMRI study working with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In light of the changes to diagnostic criteria for ASC, I wanted to explore the broader implications of how we conduct research and medicine—how it impacts patients’ lives. Columbia gave me the opportunity to complete both the Post Baccalaureate Premed program and the M.S. in Bioethics concurrently.

How did you manage the two programs?

The two programs balance quite well. I was able to gain skills in traditional core science classes and also approach current biomedical issues through ethical, philosophical, historical and legal perspectives. The end result is a multifaceted view of research and medicine.

What really stood out for you at SPS?

The students in the program are some of the greatest strengths. Their backgrounds were diverse, but the courses facilitate a lot of discussion. The bioethics program is structured on the idea that two rational people can disagree on an issue yet integrate different lines of thinking for a given case. I gained an avenue to address aspects of research and medicine, and attended institutional review board meetings, ethics consultations and committee meetings at hospitals throughout New York City. The coursework prepares us well for to discuss critical issues at a professional level—also to write for academic journals.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to continue working in research and go for a Ph.D. in neuroscience (currently working on Ph.D. in neuroscience at Stanford University). My main interests are working with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. I want to continue my bioethics writing as a way to monitor how research impacts patients and evolving neurotechnology.

Additional Authors

Molly Lucas