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Dr Cynthia Forlini



Senior Lecturer


Faculty of Health


School of Medicine


Geelong Waurn Ponds Campus



Dr Cynthia Forlini is Lecturer in Health Ethics and Professionalism in the School of Medicine (Faculty of Health) at Deakin University. Her research explores the neuroethical issues that arise as we redefine the boundaries between treatment, maintenance, and enhancement of cognitive performance. She has examined these issues conceptually and empirically as they relate to the use of neurotechnology (e.g. neuropharmaceuticals and non-invasive brain stimulation) in different contexts such as competitive academic environments, research, healthy cognitive ageing, and dementia prevention. Her work on cognitive ageing was supported by a Australia Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award (2015-2017).

Cynthia completed her training in neuroethics at the Neuroethics Research Unit of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (M.A., Université de Montréal; PhD, McGill University). Since, she has held research fellow positions at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research (Addiction Neuroethics Group) and The University of Sydney (Sydney Health Ethics). Cynthia has been awarded visiting fellowships at the Centre for Advanced Studies of the Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich (Germany), Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr Universität Bochum (Germany), the Institute of Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

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Leader of Student/Early Career Researcher Stream Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law

Elected member of the Nominating Committee of the International Neuroethics Society

Member of the Australian Brain Science Network Early and Mid-Career Researcher Steering Committee 

Teaching interests

Health Ethics



Units taught

HME931 Research Scholar Program (2021)

HME711 Health Law and Ethics (2020- Tri 2)

HME912 Medicine 1B- Ethics, Law and Professionalism Topic Coordinator (2019-20)

Knowledge areas

Biomedical ethics; Ageing; Neuroethics; Dementia; Enhancement; Teaching ethics; Research ethics

Professional activities

Editorial Board Member- Performance Enhancement & Health

Associate Editor- BMC Medical Ethics

Associate Editor- Journal of Bioethical Inquiry

Media appearances

Television and radio

SBS 'The Feed': "Nootropics- Do smart drugs reall make you more intelligent?". 4 June 2014.

ABC Radio National: "Do cognitive enhancing drugs actually make a person smarter?". 25 March 2018.



Sydney Dementia Network Travel Grant 2019. NHMRC National Institute for Dementia Research Australian Dementia Forum 2019. 13-14 June 2019. Hobart, Australia. ($AUD 500) To enable attendance at the annual NNIDR ADF 2019.

Herrenhausen Conference Travel Grant Award 2018. “Lost in the maze? Navigating evidence and ethics in translational neuroscience”.14-16 February, 2018. Hanover, Germany.

International Neuroethics Society Travel Stipend 2017. International Neuroethics Society Annual Meeting.

People’s Choice Award for Best Presentation. 2017 Lifespan Research Day. Lifespan Research Network, The University of Sydney.

International Visiting Fellowship in Medical Ethics 2012from the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr Universität Bochum. Bochum, Germany.

International Scholarship 2007-2008from the l’Institut International de Recherche en Éthique Biomédicale. Research Internship at the Institute of Social Medicine of the State University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The neuroethics of cognitive ageing

Healthy cognitive ageing in the 1921-26 cohort of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Mapping the ethical landscape of dementia research in the ageing population


Filter by


Examining the Ethics of Neuroscience in Contemporary Neuroethics

Cynthia Forlini

(2023), pp. 3-3, Neuroethics and Cultural Diversity, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Certainty, Science, and the Brain-Based Definition of Death

Dominique Martin, Cynthia Forlini, Emma Tumilty

(2023), Vol. 14, pp. 279-282, AJOB Neuroscience, London, Eng., C1

journal article


Wayne Hall, Adrian Carter, Cynthia Forlini

(2022), pp. 108-112, Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction, London, Eng., B1

book chapter

Death determination, organ donation and the importance of the Dead Donor Rule following withdrawal of life‐sustaining treatment: a survey of community opinions

Michael O'Leary, George Skowronski, Christine Critchley, Lisa O'Reilly, Cynthia Forlini, Linda Sheahan, Cameron Stewart, Ian Kerridge

(2022), Vol. 52, pp. 238-248, Internal Medicine Journal, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Problematic risk-taking involving emerging technologies: A stakeholder framework to minimize harms

T Swanton, A Blaszczynski, C Forlini, V Starcevic, S Gainsbury

(2021), Vol. 9, pp. 869-875, Journal of Behavioral Addictions, Hungary, C1

journal article

Performance and image enhancing drug interventions aimed at increasing knowledge among healthcare professionals (HCP): reflections on the implementation of the Dopinglinkki e-module in Europe and Australia in the HCP workforce

A Atkinson, K van de Ven, M Cunningham, T de Zeeuw, E Hibbert, C Forlini, V Barkoukis, H Sumnall

(2021), Vol. 95, International Journal of Drug Policy, Netherlands, C1

journal article

The pharmaceuticalisation of 'healthy' ageing: Testosterone enhancement for longevity

M Dunn, K Mulrooney, C Forlini, K van de Ven, M Underwood

(2021), Vol. 95, International Journal of Drug Policy, Netherlands, C1

journal article

A scoping review of the perceptions of death in the context of organ donation and transplantation

G Skowronski, A Ramnani, D Walton-Sonda, C Forlini, M O’Leary, L O’Reilly, L Sheahan, C Stewart, I Kerridge

(2021), Vol. 22, BMC Medical Ethics, England, C1

journal article

Death, dying and donation: community perceptions of brain death and their relationship to decisions regarding withdrawal of vital organ support and organ donation

George Skowronski, Michael O'Leary, Christine Critchley, Lisa O'Reilly, Cynthia Forlini, Nancyz Ghinea, Linda Sheahan, Cameron Stewart, Ian Kerridge

(2020), Vol. 50, pp. 1192-1201, Internal Medicine Journal, Richmond, Vic., C1

journal article

The Hidden Curriculum in Ethics and its Relationship to Professional Identity Formation: A Qualitative Study of Two Canadian Psychiatry Residency Programs

M Gupta, C Forlini, L Laneuville

(2020), Vol. 3, pp. 80-92, Canadian Journal of Bioethics, C1

journal article

A Neuroethics Framework for the Australian Brain Initiative

J Kennett, A Carter, J Bourne, W Hall, N Levy, J Mattingley, A Lawrence, C Forlini, L Malcolm, N Vincent, L Richards, G Egan, M Breakspear, K Cornish, G Halliday, L Poole-Warren, S Sriram, T Soulis, B Fitzgibbon, I Kiral-Kornek, D Badcock, B Balleine, J Bekkers, M Berk, A Bradley, A Brichta, O Carter, A Castles, J Clements, J Cornish, G de Zubicaray, P Enticott, A Fornito, L Griffiths, J Gullifer, A Hannan, S Harrer, A Harvey, I Hickie, L Jazwinska, M Kiernan, T Kilpatrick, R Leventer, J Licinio, N Lovell, G Mackellar, S Medland, P Michie, J Nithianantharajah, J Parker, J Payne, S Rossell, P Sah, Z Sarnyai, P Schofield, D Shum, T Silk, M Slee, G Stuart, J Tapson, A van Schaik, B Vissel, A Waters, D Apthorp, S Cohen-Woods, S Conn, M Korgaonkar, A Mason, M Azghadi, O Shimoni, A Smith, M Thompson

(2019), Vol. 101, pp. 365-369, Neuron, United States, C1

journal article

An Australian community jury to consider case-finding for dementia: differences between informed community preferences and general practice guidelines

R Thomas, R Sims, E Beller, A Scott, J Doust, D Le Couteur, D Pond, C Loy, C Forlini, P Glasziou

(2019), Vol. 22, pp. 475-484, Health expectations, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Non-medical prescription stimulant use to improve academic performance among Australian university students: Prevalence and correlates of use

J Lucke, C Jensen, M Dunn, G Chan, C Forlini, S Kaye, B Partridge, M Farrell, E Racine, W Hall

(2018), Vol. 18, BMC Public Health, England, C1

journal article

Public mental health ethics: helping improve mental health for individuals and communities

D Silva, C Forlini, C Meurk

(2018), Vol. 11, pp. 121-125, Public health ethics, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal article

A prospectus for ethical analysis of ageing individuals' responsibility to prevent cognitive decline

C Forlini, W Hall

(2017), Vol. 31, pp. 657-665, Bioethics, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Patient preferences may be indicative of normative issues in dementia research

C Forlini

(2017), Vol. 59, pp. 11-12, Journal of alzheimer's disease, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1

journal article

Contextualized autonomy and liberalism: Broadening the lenses on complementary and alternative medicines in preclinical Alzheimer's disease

E Racine, J Aspler, C Forlini, J Chandler

(2017), Vol. 27, pp. 1-41, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, United States, C1

journal article

The impact of bariatric surgery on health outcomes, wellbeing and employment rates: analysis from a prospective cohort study

M Ricco, F Marchesi, F Tartamella, C Rapacchi, V Pattonieri, A Odone, C Forlini, L Roncoroni, C Signorelli

(2017), Vol. 29, pp. 440-452, Annali di igiene : medicina preventiva e di comunita, Italy, C1-1

journal article

The hidden ethics curriculum in two Canadian psychiatry residency programs: a qualitative study

M Gupta, C Forlini, K Lenton, R Duchen, L Lohfeld

(2016), Vol. 40, pp. 592-599, Academic psychiatry, Cham, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Complementary and alternative medicine in the context of earlier diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease: opening the conversation to prepare ethical responses

E Racine, C Forlini, J Aspler, J Chandler

(2016), Vol. 51, pp. 1-9, Journal of Alzheimer's disease, Amsterdam, Netherlands, C1

journal article

The is and ought of the ethics of neuroenhancement: Mind the gap

C Forlini, W Hall

(2016), Vol. 6, Frontiers in Psychology, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Australian University Students' Coping Strategies and Use of Pharmaceutical Stimulants as Cognitive Enhancers

C Jensen, C Forlini, B Partridge, W Hall

(2016), Vol. 7, Frontiers in Psychology, Switzerland, C1

journal article

Ethical, Social and Clinical Challenges in using Deep Brain Stimulation to Treat Addiction and Other Impulsive and Compulsive Disorders

Adrian Carter, Philip Mosley, Cynthia Forlini, Wayne Hall

(2016), Vol. 19, pp. 163-188, Jahrbuch für Wissenschaft und Ethik, Berlin, Germany, C1

journal article

Ethical issues raised by a ban on the sale of electronic nicotine devices

W Hall, C Gartner, C Forlini

(2015), Vol. 110, pp. 1061-1067, Addiction, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Knowledge, experiences and views of German university students toward neuroenhancement: an empirical-ethical analysis

C Forlini, J Schildmann, P Roser, R Beranek, J Vollmann

(2015), Vol. 8, pp. 83-92, Neuroethics, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Researchers' perspectives on scientific and ethical issues with transcranial direct current stimulation: an international survey

K Riggall, C Forlini, A Carter, W Hall, M Weier, B Partridge, M Meinzer

(2015), Vol. 5, pp. 1-10, Scientific reports, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Food addiction and its impact on weight-based stigma and the treatment of obese individuals in the U.S. and Australia

N Lee, W Hall, J Lucke, C Forlini, A Carter

(2014), Vol. 6, pp. 5312-5326, Nutrients, Basel, Switzerland, C1

journal article

The value and pitfalls of speculation about science and technology in bioethics: the case of cognitive enhancement

E Racine, T Martin Rubio, J Chandler, C Forlini, J Lucke

(2014), Vol. 17, pp. 325-337, Medicine, health care and philosophy, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, C1

journal article

Generating genius: how an Alzheimer's drug became considered a 'cognitive enhancer' for healthy individuals

L Wade, C Forlini, E Racine

(2014), Vol. 15, pp. 1-14, BMC medical ethics, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Impact of contextual factors and substance characteristics on perspectives toward cognitive enhancement

S Sattler, C Forlini, E Racine, C Sauer

(2013), Vol. 8, pp. 1-12, PLoS one, San Francisco, Calif., C1

journal article

Navigating the enhancement landscape: ethical issues in research on cognitive enhancers for healthy individuals

C Forlini, W Hall, B Maxwell, S Outram, P Reiner, D Repantis, M Schermer, E Racine

(2013), Vol. 14, pp. 123-128, EMBO reports, Chichester, Eng., C1

journal article

Stakeholder perspectives and reactions to "academic" cognitive enhancement: unsuspected meaning of ambivalence and analogies

C Forlini, E Racine

(2012), Vol. 21, pp. 606-625, Public understanding of science, London, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Added stakeholders, added value(s) to the cognitive enhancement debate: are academic discourse and professional policies sidestepping values of stakeholders?

C Forlini, E Racine

(2012), Vol. 3, pp. 33-47, AJOB primary research, Abingdon, Eng., C1-1

journal article

Cognitive enhancement, lifestyle choice or misuse of prescription drugs? : Ethics blind spots in current debates

E Racine, C Forlini

(2010), Vol. 3, pp. 1-4, Neuroethics, Cham, Switzerland, C1-1

journal article

Disagreements with implications: Diverging discourses on the ethics of non-medical use of methylphenidate for performance enhancement

C Forlini, E Racine

(2009), Vol. 10, BMC Medical Ethics, C1-1

journal article

Autonomy and coercion in academic "cognitive enhancement" using methylphenidate: Perspectives of key stakeholders

C Forlini, E Racine

(2009), Vol. 2, pp. 163-177, Neuroethics, C1-1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Australian Competitive Grants

The neuroethics of cognitive ageing

Dr Cynthia Forlini

ARC DECRA - Discovery Early Career Researcher Award

  • 2020: $42,217


No completed student supervisions to report