Research interests: medical ethics, bioethics, health policy, stem cell research, science policy, leadership and mobilization, community engagement
Dr. Ellison is a new investigator, receiving her PhD in sociology in 2012. Dr. Ellison’s interests lie in the intersection of society, public policy, and ethics from a health and science standpoint, and her interest in this field lies in intellectual and personal experiences. At the age of 11, Dr. Ellison was in an accident that left her paralyzed from her neck down and dependent on a ventilator to breathe. However, despite these circumstances, Dr. Ellison received her undergraduate and masters degrees from Harvard University, and her PhD from Stony Brook University. In 2002, Dr. Ellison published an autobiography, Miracles Happen, which was later made into a movie directed by Christopher Reeve. In 2006, Dr. Ellison was a candidate for New York State Senate, focusing on issues like healthcare and stem cell research. This interest carried over to her academic career, as Dr. Ellison wrote her dissertation on the social construction of stem cell research policy. At present, Dr. Ellison is the Director of Education and Ethics of Stony Brook University's Stem Cell Facility, and is an Assistant Professor in Stony Brook University's PhD program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Dr. Ellison is also Associate Director of the Stony Brook University Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development and co-founder of Stony Brook University's VENTure Think Tank. In 2014, as a result of the work Dr. Ellison has done in stem cell research and disability, she was chosen to be a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a unique, multi-stakeholder community of more than 900 exceptional young leaders. Bold, brave, action-oriented and entrepreneurial, these individuals commit both their time and talent to make the world a better place. Nominated and selected for her work on stem cell research, Dr. Ellison will use this forum as a vehicle to advance broader social acceptance of this research and bring important stakeholders into it. Using her PhD dissertation as a guide, Dr. Ellison fosters the important relationships so that stem cell research policy and science can move forward unimpeded. Dr. Ellison also uses her position as a Young Global Leader to elevate the voices of people living with disability around the world, and develops partnerships to help build social capital. The details of her life have been widely covered in such publications as The New York Times, People Magazine, USA Today, Newsday, Biography Magazine, and The International Herald, as well as, such programs as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, and Larry King Live. In each of these appearances, Dr. Ellison has expressed a desire to make an impact on the world, stating “wherever there is a condition of discouragement or inopportunity, that’s where I hope to be”.
Bachelor of Arts In Cognitive Neuroscience, Harvard University, 2000
Master in Public Policy, Harvard University, 2004
PhD In Sociology, Stony Brook University, 2012
World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, 2014
Ellison, B. (2014). Community Engagement: An Important Addition To the Medical Curriculum. American Journal of Bioethics. Vol. 14:23-24.
Ellison, B. (2013). #StemCells: Education, Innovation, and Outreach. Cell Stem Cell - 7 November 2013 (Vol. 13, Issue 5, pp. 517-519)
Ellison, B. (2013). Making ESCRO committees work in New York State. The American Journal of Bioethics, 13:1 (63-64).
Ellison, B. & J. Meliker. (2011). Assessing the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome in egg donation: Implications for stem cell research. The American Journal of Bioethics, 11(9); 22-30.
Ellison, B. (2011). Communicating hope: the bridge between science and the future it creates. Cell Stem Cell, 8; 616-617.