Pin Lean Lau

February 11, 2022

Pin Lean is currently a Lecturer in Bio-Law at Brunel Law School, having joined Brunel University, London in January 2021. Prior to joining Brunel University, she was an attorney on secondment with the General Counsel's Organization of American Express International’s Legal Services Team in Belgrave, London, where she acted as a key senior legal counsel for the Asia-Pacific region. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from CEU’s Legal Studies Department’s SJD program in 2019, completing her doctoral studies with almost record speed (taking only 3 years and 3 months). Her doctoral dissertation was completed under the supervision of Professor Judit Sandor, and was titled ‘Comparative Legal Frameworks for Pre-Implantation Genetic Interventions’. It was published as a monograph by Springer in 2019.

Pin Lean attributes her academic growth and career to the strong foundational grounding she received at CEU in general and especially from her mentor, Professor Judit Sandor. She says her years at CEU were some of the most memorable of her life and that her studies there were both challenging yet inspiring. She says that CEU’s inclusive and diverse academic environment – which was highly encouraging for students’ development and well-being – offered her much freedom, while also offering her a rigorous high quality education. She will always be grateful for the culture of teaching and learning at CEU, and for the richness and warmth of the faculty and staff who made it possible. With great fondness, she remembers that “because of CEU, I have forged some of my most meaningful and rich professional relationships. I have had opportunities that I would otherwise never have had access to, such as visiting fellowships with some of the best institutions in the world. My mentor, Judit, has always been my number one cheerleader and has really nurtured my growth as an academic scholar. She has always inspired me to chase my dreams and she continues to inspire me as an individual. I have had the privilege of being taught by some of the most prolific academics in the region (the world, even), and some of these professional relationships have led to exciting new collaborations.” She further reminisces that “as a young single mother who had to be away from her own young child for all those years (my child had to stay with my mother in my home country), while I chased my dream to pursue my doctoral studies in Budapest, there were times when I almost wanted to give up. But Judit, my dear friends in Hungary, and ultimately CEU itself never let me give up. For that, I will always be grateful.” 

To Pin Lean, CEU was like finding a family in a home away from home. From the weekly doctoral seminars, which always opened up new and exciting discussions on constitutional law, human rights, and commercial realities, to her favourite classes on bioethics and the law, international human rights, and rights of privacy in biotechnologies, she deeply appreciated the pedagogical and methodological approaches in CEU’s teaching, and she now aspires to apply them to her own teaching at Brunel University. She attributes the richness of her CEU experience to being able to engage in reflective intellectual discourse with professors and colleagues alike.

Almost three years on from CEU, she is Lecturer in Bio-Law, teaching modules such as AI, Ethics and the Law and Law, Science and Technology Studies. She is also a teacher for the multidisciplinary postgraduate MSc in AI Strategies, where she teaches about algorithmic bias in machine learning and the impact that this has on under-represented groups in society, especially ethnic minorities and women. She is also currently a member of the Brunel International Law Research Group, and an active member of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence: Social & Digital Innovations. Externally, she is part of the ELSI2.0 Workspace (an international collaboration on genomics and society research), a member of I-GEN (the International Genome Editing Network), a member of the European Association of Health Law (EAHL), and a General Manager of the Interest Group on Supranational Bio-Law at the EAHL.

Her research still encompasses European, international, and comparative law for genome editing, the proliferation of virulent gene-edited pathogens and global bio-security, and the propertization and commodification of genetic materials and biomedical technologies. Since CEU, she has now also expanded her research interests to include the ethical and legal governance of artificial intelligence (AI) systems (with a focus on the protection of fundamental rights, spatial 'body citizenship', and the bio-constitutional implications of the AI-augmented biological human body) and legal issues that impact upon privacy and human rights in the Metaverse.

She has written and published numerous journals and news articles; she is in the midst of co-editing a special-issue journal on vaccine iniquity and international law, as well as contributing to several chapters in edited volumes on subjects as diverse as AI and the law, gene editing, and the rights of children. She has been interviewed and featured in a Spotify podcast and a Wall Street Journal article, and she continues to engage with a wider audience through public lectures and talks to enable accessibility to her research. She is currently working on a project with researchers from the EAHL to produce a Joint Statement for the European Commission's 2021 Thematic Networks as part of the EU Pharmaceutical Strategy, where she is introducing a proposal for Health to become Fundamental Value. She was also recently awarded funding for a renewable energy technologies project aiming to improve the health and well-being of impoverished communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Her role is to formulate a legal toolkit as a comprehensive and pilot guideline for the project and to realistically quantify what the plan’s benefits for the target communities would be.

She has this one piece of advice for students, which she says is also part of her teaching philosophy: “Stay curious, keep learning!” Above all, she says that it is never too late to start chasing your dreams, whatever they may be.