Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz

Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz, PhD, JD

Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Member, HMS Center for Bioethics

Gabriel Lázaro-Muñoz, PhD, JD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School and the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz combines his background in neuroscience, law, and bioethics to examine ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of emerging technologies in neuroscience and genomics. To study these issues, he mainly uses embedded approaches such as participant-observation, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, surveys (national and international), and ethical, legal, and policy analysis

          The brain is a key common thread in his work. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz’s genomics research focuses on psychiatric genetics and his neuroethics research examines the development of emerging neurotechnologies (e.g., deep brain stimulation; DBS) and their use in different populations. In most of his projects, Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz works closely with scientists developing the technologies or tools studied, and he obtains input from diverse stakeholders. This helps anticipate and contextualize emerging ELSI issues to develop informed research questions and analysis. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz’s goal is to generate research products that are highly informed and help push discussions about how to manage emerging technology into policy action. 

           Over the past 6 years, Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz has obtained more than $16 million in research funds as principal investigator and published over 70 manuscripts. He has a track record of NIH funding as a trainee (F31, K99/R00) and in 6 years as a faculty member he has obtained 5 R01 awards. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz has also been a co-investigator on 10 externally-funded studies. His previous grants examined the development of neurotechnologies, such as adaptive deep brain stimulation (DBS) systems (R01MH114854), and the use of DBS in pediatric populations (R01MH121371).

         Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz’s current studies funded by the BRAIN Initiative, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) examine the ethical, legal, clinical, and social implications of: integrating psychiatric genomics (e.g., psychiatric polygenic risk scores, pharmacogenetics) into clinical care (R01MH128676), screening and selecting embryos for implantation using polygenic scores for conditions (e.g., psychiatric disorders, Alzheimer’s disease) and traits (e.g., intelligence, height; R01HG011711), and identifying policy solutions to ensure post-trial care and device maintenance for patients with treatment-resistant conditions who benefit from an experimental neural device during a trial (R01MH133657).

         At the national level, Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz is a member of the Genomics & Society Working Group, an advisory group of the National Institutes of Health-National Human Genome Research Institute. He has been a reviewer on over 10 NIH grant review panels, and has served as a reviewer for numerous journals, including Cell, Nature Neuroscience, JAMA Neurology, JAMA Psychiatry, Genetics in Medicine, Brain Stimulation, and Neuromodulation. At the international level, Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz is a member of the International Brain Initiative (IBI) Neuroethics Working Group, the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics (ISPG) Ethics, Position, and Policy Committee. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz was the Chair of the ISPG Ethics Committee for three years. Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz has published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, Neuron, Molecular Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, Brain Stimulation, Neuromodulation, Genetics in Medicine, European Journal of Human Genetics, and Psychiatry Research, among other journals. Multiple media outlets (e.g., LA Times, Scientific American, STAT News, National Public RadioHuffington Post, Nature, MIT Technology Review, The VergeLeaps Magazine, NatureNature Medicine, the Associated Press, and others) have quoted Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz commenting on developments in neuroscience, genomics, and other topics.

Dr. Lázaro-Muñoz received his PhD in Neuroscience from New York University; his JD and Master of Bioethics from the University of Pennsylvania; and his BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico.

Research Interests: translation of biotechnology into clinical care; neurotechnology; deep brain stimulation; post-trial issues in neural device studies; impact of neuromodulation on personality, mood, and behavior; artificial intelligence embedded in neurotechnology; genomics; polygenic scores, psychiatric genetics; return of results; genetics and the law; polygenic embryo screening or PGT-P; neuroethics; ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) of genomics

Publications View