I am an Associate Professor of Law (with tenure) and a McKnight Presidential Fellow at the University of Minnesota, where I direct the Shen Neurolaw Lab. Our motto is: Every story is a brain story, and we focus our research on the ways in which law and public policy can be improved through integration of brain science. I also serve as Executive Director of Education and Outreach activities for the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Law and Neuroscience. In addition, I am the the Senior Fellow in Law and Neuroscience at the Project on Law and Applied Neuroscience, a collaboration between the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School. In Fall 2017, I was a Visiting Professor of Neuroscience at Virginia Tech University’s School of Neuroscience, teaching Law and Neuroscience.
Before joining the faculty at the University of Minnesota I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tulane University Law School and The Murphy Institute; a Visiting Scholar at Vanderbilt University Law School; Associate Director of the MacArthur Foundation Law and Neuroscience Project; and a Lecturer at Harvard University.
I received my B.A. from the University of Chicago (majoring in both English and Economics), my J.D. from Harvard Law School (where I did my clinical work in a local district attorney’s office), and my Ph.D. in Government and Social Policy from the Harvard Government Department and the Harvard Kennedy School (completing a dissertation combining political science, psychology, public policy, and law). During graduate school I was a doctoral fellow in the Harvard University Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, supported by the National Science Foundation. From 2007-09, I was a teaching fellow, lecturer, and assistant director of undergraduate studies in the Harvard Department of Government and received five Certificates of Distinction for Excellence in Teaching from Harvard’s Derek Bok Center. I also spent a summer teaching high school student at the Junior State of America.
At the University of Minnesota, I am affiliated with the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Center for Cognitive Sciences, the Institute for Engineering in Medicine, the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences, the Center for the Study of Political Psychology, and the MRI Users Group.
My research has been published in a variety of outlets in law, political science, psychology, and education, and I have co-authored three books: Law and Neuroscience (Aspen, 2014); The Casualty Gap (Oxford, 2010); and The Education Mayor (Georgetown, 2007). Recent publications are available for download on SSRN.
I am always looking for new collaborators both within and beyond academia, so if you like what you see please send me an email.
Every year since 1993 I have been actively competing in track and field, with a focus on the hurdles. Highlights include the NCAA Championships (D-III in 1999), winning the Shuttle Hurdle Relay at the Penn Relays; running a 48.5 400m split on a 3:12 4x400m relay team, being the current and 3-time defending national champion (2015-2017) in my age group for the 400m Hurdles at the USA Track and Field Masters Championships. Click here for more.
The Annual Baseball Roadtrip
Every summer my good friend and former college roommate Dave Gates and I traverse the country to indulge in America’s national pastime. What is more American than seeing the country during the day, and seeing baseball played at night? We also get to see our friends across the country. Throw in a state fair and corn dog for good measure (and we do), and it’s America at its finest. Click here for the full recap.
Let us not forget the lives of those who have come before us. In a special way, I ask you to remember the lives of three former track teammates at the University of Chicago, each of whom died tragically at young ages: Margaret Bradley, Cary Girod, and Keith Mastronardi. In 2004 I created this page to honor Margaret’s memory, and the Greater Boston Track Club annually awards the Margaret Bradley Award in her honor. When my Grandfather Shen passed away in 2003, I created this page to honor his life. Finally, let us remember those who give their lives in defense of our great nation. You can read about their courageous lives here.