Newcastle Law School

Staff Profile

Dr Ilke Turkmendag Brunsnes

Senior Lecturer-Law Innovation & Society

Background

Introduction

I have a PhD in Genetics and Society (Institute for Science and Society and School of Law, University of Nottingham), and a Master’s degree in Science and Technology Studies (University of Oslo). 

My doctoral work concerned the social and ethical implications of the removal of donor anonymity from gamete donors in the UK. I explored the reactions of would-be parents to this legal shift through semi-structured interviews and a virtual ethnography study on an online patient support group.

After the completion of my doctoral work I joined the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences Research Centre (PEALS) at Newcastle University, which has provided a deep understanding in evidence based bioethics. Between January 2010-2012, I worked as a Post Doctoral Research Associate in 'Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Uses of Reproductive Tissue in Stem Cell Science', a project led by Professor Erica Haimes. 

In 2011, I was granted a Mildred Blaxter Postdoctoral Fellowships funded by the Foundation of Sociology of Health and Illness to disseminate the findings from my PhD thesis.

http://www.shifoundation.org.uk/?page_id=174

During the fellowship I published in four main areas: the role of patient support groups in policymaking; cross border reproductive care movements by UK patients; Turkish assisted conception regulations; and the right to personal identity claims in donor conception.

After completion of my fellowship, in February 2014, I joined Sheffield University to help coordinating the activities towards preparing large grant applications, as well as developing my own grant proposals.  I also taught 'Social Theory and Analysis' and 'Sociology of the New Genetics'. In Sheffield I also coordinated the activities of the Biosociety Network and played role in launching a new university research centre, iHuman: 

https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/faculty/social-sciences/ihuman

In February 2016 I joined the Newcastle Law School as a Lecturer in Law, Innovation, and Society. The group aims to address challenges broadly relating to:

  • the role of law in regulating innovation, and
  • innovation within law and legal institutions.

Please visit Law, innovation, and Society School Research Group's webpage: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/nuls/research/groups/lisgroup/ for more information about our research activities.

Memberships

  • Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA) Executive Committee (appointed May 2017) and Grants Committee (appointed September 2017)  https://www.slsa.ac.uk/index.php/executive-committee
  • Higher Education Academy (Fellow, June 2018)
  • Association for Studies in Innovation Science and Technology (ASSIST UK) 
  • Association for Responsible Research and Innovation in Genome Editing (ARRIGE)
  • International Genome Editing Network (University of Lisbon, University of Oxford)
  • Northern Bioethics Network
  • Northern Empirical Legal Studies Group 
  • European Association for the Study of Science and Technology 

Qualifications

PhD, The Institute for Science and Society (ISS) and School of Law, University of Nottingham.

‘The Removal of Donor Anonymity in the United Kingdom: The Silencing of Claims by Would-be Parents’ (Awarded 07.2009)
Supervised by Prof Robert Dingwall and Prof Therese Murphy

MA, European Studies of Society, Science and Technology , The Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture (TIK), University of Oslo, Norway.

‘Embryo in the Parliament: The British Parliament Debate on the Embryo Technology’. (Awarded 12.2003)
Supervised by Prof Torben Nielsen

Bachelor of Business Administration, Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University, Turkey. 

Teaching qualifications

Fellow of Higher Education Academy.

Newcastle Teaching Award, June 2018. 

Previous Positions

  • Research Associate, Department of Sociological Studies, Sheffield University
  • Mildred Blaxter Post-Doctoral Fellow, PEALS, Newcastle University
  • Post-Doc Research Associate PEALS, Newcastle University
  • Part-Time Teacher, University of Nottingham
  • Senior Resident Tutor University of Nottingham
  • Senior Financial Auditor, KPMG, Istanbul

Research

Research

I have two main areas of research interests. The first is the socio-legal and ethical issues associated with biomedicine, and the second focuses on regulation of emerging medical technologies. Owing to my background, I bring a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to my research which enables me to apply insights and perspectives from science and technology studies, bioethics, and law.

In the past, I explored the social, ethical and legal aspects of gamete donation, and focused on right-to-know claims by donor conceived adults. I  examined the public debate on the novel mitochondrial replacement techniques, and the construction of  rights in the regulatory process. With a small team of lawyers and bioethicists I have conducted a pilot project to examine the the ethical, legal and social implications of new health technologies, involving the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. Following this, I was a Co-Investigator in a ESRC/BBSRC  funded project on epigenetics: EpiStressNet: A biosocial systems approach to understanding the epigenetic embedding of social stress responses: http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/projects?ref=ES/N000528/1

To date, my research has been published in leading international peer-reviewed journals and as book chapters in high profile edited collections resulting from research council-funded (ESRC and AHRC) projects. I also act as a referee for numerous journals including the Journal of Medical Ethics, New Genetics and Society, Reproductive Biomedicine Online, Human Reproduction, Sociology of Health and Illness, Biosocieties, and Bioethics and as a peer reviewer for the Wellcome Trust, ESRC, and Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek-Vlaanderen (FWO), Belgium.

Current Research

I am interested in the socio-legal construction of intergenerational and transgenerational justice. There are two lines of my research:

Epigenetics: I am interested in the ways in which developments in epigenetics research influence how maternal responsibility and rights are perceived. In line with that, my recent research focuses on the ways in which the claims associated with  epigenetics may give rise to legal claims. I was awarded British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Grant SRG18R1\180531 to explore this: ‘Sins of the mother: Socio-legal imaginaries of epigenetics’. (01/05/2019-30/08/2020) 

Project website: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/nuls/research/fr/epigenetics/#abstract


Human genome editing: I am interested in the regulatory and ethical aspects of human germline editing. In this context, I particularly focus on the meaning and limits of reproductive autonomy, and how our reproductive decisions may affect the future generations.


PhD Supervision

Currently, I am supervising PhD projects about access to fertility treatment and human germline editing. I would be interested in supervising projects within my research interests as outlined below, but students who are interested in other areas of biomedicine and human reproduction are also welcome to contact me. 

  • Social, ethical, and legal issues around human reproduction technologies, including access to fertility treatment
  • Reproductive tissue donation
  • Reproductive autonomy 
  • Child's 'right-to know' in donor conception and mitochondrial replacement techniques
  • Cross border reproductive care (CBRC) movements 
  • Epigenetics and maternal responsibility
  • Socio-legal and ethical issues around the human genome editing techniques
  • Medical device and implants

Teaching

Postgraduate Teaching .

LAW 1110 Legal Institutions and Method

LAW 3024 Medicine and the Law (Module leader)

LAW 3098 Dissertation 

LAW 8090 Legal Research Skills and Methods (Module leader)

LAW 8152 Theory and Methods of Research (Module leader)



Publications