Center Faculty

Leslie Francis
Distinguished Alfred C. Emery Professor of Law
Professor of Philosophy

Leslie Francis, Center director, is also Distinguished Alfred C. Emery Professor of Law and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy.  In addition to her regular faculty appointments in law and philosophy, she has adjunct appointments in the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities in the Department of Internal Medicine and in the Division of Public Health in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine.  Francis’s current research projects of particular interest to the Center include privacy and health information technology, surveillance and public health, and disability and inclusive justice.  Francis is also currently editing the Handbook on Reproductive Ethics for Oxford University Press. Francis is the PI of a recently awarded National Science Foundation grant that brings a post-doctoral fellow in law and social science to the Center to work on the legal issues facing adults with diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder.  Francis serves as co-chair of the Privacy, Confidentiality, and Security subcommittee of the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics and as a member of the Ethics Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

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Teneille Brown
Professor of Law,
Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine

Professor Brown’s research is highly interdisciplinary, and spans a wide range of issues at the intersection of law, biotechnology, medicine, and ethics. She is currently researching the cognitive science of decision-making and how this may inform the Federal Rules of Evidence.  She is also pursuing work generally in contemporary issues related to law and the biosciences: the regulation of neurodevices, how neuroscience and genetics may inform legal notions of personhood or intent, and the relevance of neuroscience and genetics evidence at sentencing.  Brown joined the faculty in 2009 following two years as a fellow at Stanford University, where she was a post-doctoral scholar in the medical school’s Center for Biomedical Ethics and a fellow with the law school’s Center for Law and the Biosciences (CLB). She remains a non-residential fellow at CLB.  Professor Brown was also been a fellow with the MacArthur Foundation’s ground breaking Law and Neuroscience Project, where she worked for the Network on Legal Decision Making. Before that, she practiced law for two years at Latham & Watkins in Washington DC, specializing in early stage medical device mergers and acquisitions, private equity, and FDA regulatory matters.

Brown graduated from the University of Michigan Law School. Before attending law school, Professor Brown conducted HIV clinical research at the University of Pennsylvania, where she received her B.A. with high honors and distinction. She majored in the History and Sociology of Science, with concentrations in bioethics and the biological basis of behavior.

Her work has been featured in the New York Times, NPR’s Morning Edition, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal and Science Progress, and she has also presented her research to law faculty, neuroscientists, geneticists, practicing attorneys, and judges across the country.

Professor Brown teaches Torts, Evidence, Health Law and Human Rights, Bioethics & the Law, and Current Issues in Law & Biosciences.

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Amelia Rinehart
Professor of Law

Professor Rinehart’s research focuses on the interplay between patent law and contract law in the development and commercialization of inventions, particularly in the field of biotechnology and medical innovations. She is presently researching the patent exhaustion doctrine in the context of genetically modified crops and self-pollinating patented plants. Another project intends to explore the extent of federal question jurisdiction over patent cases involving license disputes. Over time, she envisions contributing to an understanding of the U.S. patent system that better recognizes the public benefits provided by the private rights to exclude granted to patent owners. In addition to her scholarly agenda, Professor Rinehart enjoys engaging students with the practice of intellectual property law and hopes to implement more experiential learning into our curriculum, especially with regard to biomedical patenting.

Professor Rinehart joined the College of Law faculty in 2010 after spending two years as a visiting professor at Florida State University College of Law. Before that, she practiced patent litigation and prosecution for six years with private firms in New York City and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Professor Rinehart received her juris doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School in 2002. Prior to law school, she worked as an experiment engineer at Johnson Space Center. Professor Rinehart received bachelor’s and masters’ of engineering degrees from Tulane University in biomedical engineering. She is also a registered patent attorney.

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jorge-contreras_wvflnyJorge Contreras
Associate Professor of Law

In addition to his position at the College of Law, Professor Contreras holds an adjunct faculty appointment in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine and serves as a Senior Policy Fellow at American University Washington College of Law. He has written and spoken extensively on the institutional structures of intellectual property, technical standardization and biomedical research, particularly in the areas of genomics and genetics. He currently serves as a member of the Advisory Council of NIH’s National Center for the Advancement of Translational Sciences (NCATS) and the Board of the Cures Acceleration Network (CAN), and previously served as Co-Chair of the National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists (NCLS) and a member of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research (NACHGR).  At the University of Utah, he serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Utah Genome Project, the Executive Steering Committee of the Center for Clinical & Translational Science and the Oversight Board of the Veterans Administration Genealogy Project. Professor Contreras’s work has appeared in a range of scientific, policy and legal publications including Science, Nature, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Telecommunications Policy, Standards Engineering, Jurimetrics, Arizona State Law Journal, American University Law Review, Utah Law Review, Antitrust Law Journal,  Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Ecology Law Quarterly and Harvard Journal of Law and Technology.  He is the founding editor of SSRN’s Law, Policy and Economics of Technical Standards eJournal, and was the winner of the Standards Engineering Society’s (SES) 2011 and 2015 scholarly paper competitions.  He received his J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a BSEE and BA degree from Rice University.

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Ken Chahine
Visiting Assistant Professor of Law

Professor Chahine is a member of the Law and Biosciences Project, an interdisciplinary project focusing on cutting edge issues at the intersection of law and rapidly emerging biosciences. The team is currently focused on the complex legal issues (informed consent, privacy, ownership, etc.) raised by large databases that combine a patient’s family history, biological specimens, genetic information, and medical records to develop the next generation of prognostic and diagnostic medical tools.

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