Every Story is a Brain Story.

What We Do

Our Mission

Every story is a brain story, and every day these stories become richer as labs across the world make advances in how we understand and treat the human brain. The potential implications are stunning. Brain science might allow us to one day reverse dementia, prevent addiction, reduce interpersonal violence, detect lies, and much more. But whether this promise is realized depends critically on the path that is forged from lab to law.

That’s where we come in.The mission of the Shen Neurolaw Lab is to translate advances in brain science into better law and policy. We recognize that the promise of brain science must be balanced against the perils of premature and inappropriate uses. We thus conduct research to better enable lawyers, courts, and policymakers to understand what, precisely, neuroscience can (and cannot) offer.

test1 The world is our lab: Dr. Shen conducting research at the Minnesota State Fair.

Our Projects: From Lab to Law

We study big problems such as the ways in which neuroscience can affect: mental health services; sentencing in the criminal justice system; responding to sports concussions; developing early childhood interventions; litigating brain injury and pain; assessing brain death; brain-based lie detection; the regulation of brain-machine interface and neuromodulation; and the ethics of cognitive enhancement.

Grassroots Neurolaw: Dr. Shen testifying in front of the MN House of Representatives in support of new youth sports concussion study.

Video production by Kelsey Rodgers (UMN Class of 2017) - thank you Kelsey!

Meet Francis


The Research Team

Diverse Collaborators

I have collaborated broadly, with a total of 13 co-authors from fields including law, psychology, neuroscience, political science, and education. Students in the Lab have gone on to Law School, Medical School, PhD programs, private sector employment, and public sector service. For more info, see the current lab member bios