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.

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.

test1 The world is our lab: Dr. Shen studying legal decision-making at the Minnesota State Fair.

Meet Francis


The Research Team

Diverse Expertise

Current and recent lab members include Senior Research AssociateAdam Steiner (Ph.D., Neuroscience); law students Morgan Carlson, Aubrey Strenger, and Ryan Pesch; economists Weiwen Leung and Brian Zurowski; lawyer and political scientist Tom Pryor; and undergraduate psychology students Geordin Crist, Yihan Wu and Wanbing Zhang. We also have collaborators from beyond Minnesota, including Deniz Cataltepe (Harvard, History of Science). For more info, see the lab member bios