Dr. Effy Vayena is Professor of Bioethics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich (ETH Zürich). In her work, she investigates how advances in science and technology can be ethically applied for best outcomes in public and personal health.
Vayena completed her education as a social historian with a PhD in Medical History from the University of Minnesota and a habilitation on Bioethics and Health Policy at the University of Zurich. A keen interest in health policy led her to work for the World Health Organization where she served as a technical officer for several years. Upon her return to academia, Vayena was awarded a Swiss National Science Foundation professorship and founded the Health Ethics and Policy Lab. The lab’s purpose is to tackle ethical questions that arise at the cutting edge of biotech research, in areas such as genomic technologies and big data analytics for healthcare. The lab moved to ETH Zurich in 2017.
Vayena has been appointed Faculty Associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, where she was previously a Fellow. She has published over a hundred peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and co-edited several books. Vayena is also an elected member of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences. She chairs the Ethical, Legal and Societal Implications advisory group for the Swiss Personalized Health Network, a national infrastructure and research program which aims to advance personalized healthcare in Switzerland. She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s advisory board for the Global Risks Report. She currently co-chairs the WHO’s expert advisory group on Artificial Intelligence health ethics and governance. In 2021 she was named chair of the Greek National Bioethics and Technoethics Commission. Professor Vayena is renowned for her expertise, and frequently advises governments and public policy organizations on matters of digitization and ethics.