Effy Vayena

Effy Vayena, Prof. Dr.




Short biography

Effy Vayena, Ph.D., studied Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota (USA) and completed her habilitation in Bioethics and Health Policy at the University of Zurich. From 2000- 2007 she worked at the World Health Organization (WHO), focusing on ethical and policy issues relating to reproductive health, and assisted reproduction as well as on health research ethics. She remains at consultant to WHO and is visiting faculty at the Harvard Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School.  In 2015–2016, she is Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. In 2015 she was named a Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) Professor of Health Policy and leads the newly-establishedHealth Ethics and Policy Lab in the Department of Public Health at the EBPI, University of Zurich.

Her current research focus is on ethical and policy questions in personalized medicine and digital health.  At the intersection of multiple fields, she relies on normative analyses and empirical methods to explore how values such as freedom of choice, participation and privacy are affected by recent developments in personalised medicine and in digital health.  She is particularly interested in the issues of ethical oversight of research uses of big data, ethical uses of big data for global health, as well as the ethics of citizen science. Using the ethics lens in innovative ways, her work aims to provide concrete policy recommendations and frameworks that facilitate the use of new technologies for a better and more just health.


She has published widely in major journals in medicine, public health, health policy and ethics (Lancet, Science Translational Medicine, PLoSMedicine, Journal of Medical Ethics). Her research has been featured is several media outlets including the Wall Street JournalNeue Zuercher Zeitung The Scientist

Curriculum Vitae