Amanda C. Pustilnik

Professor of Law




(410) 706-4239


(410) 706-6644

Photo of Amanda C. Pustilnik


  • BA, magna cum laude, Harvard College
  • JD, Yale Law School

Amanda C. Pustilnik is a professor of law at the University of Maryland School of Law and faculty at the Center for Law, Brain & Behavior at Massachusetts General Hospital.  Her work focuses on the intersections of law, science, and culture, with a particular emphasis on the brain.  In 2015, she served as Harvard Law School’s first senior fellow on law and applied neuroscience.  Her collaborations with scientists on brain imaging of pain and addiction led to her recent work on opioids on behalf of the Aspen Institute.  Prior to entering the academy, Amanda practiced litigation at Sullivan & Cromwell, clerked on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co., in New York.  She attended Harvard College, Yale Law School, and the University of Cambridge, where she studied history and philosophy of science.  Her work has been published in numerous law reviews and peer-reviewed scientific journals, including Nature.

Book Chapters

Neurodisability: A Criminal Law Doctrine that Is Not Pure Insanity, in Neurodisability and the Criminal Justice System 14-33 (Gaye T. Lansdell, Bernadette J. Saunders & Anna Eriksson eds., 2021).

The Law's Responses to the Opioid Epidemic: Legal Solutions to a Unique Public Health, Criminal Law, and Market-Related Crisis, in Confronting Our Nation's Opioid Crisis: A Report of the Aspen Health Strategy Group (Alan R. Weil & Rachel Dolan eds., 2017).

Neurotechnologies at the Intersection of Criminal Procedure and Constitutional Law, in The Constitution and the Future of Criminal Justice in America 109 (John T. Parry & L. Song Richardson eds., 2013). Abstract

Rethinking Unreasonableness: A Comment on Nita Farahany's "Law and Behavioral Morality," in Evolution and Morality: NOMOS LII 166 (James Fleming & Sanford Levinson eds., 2012).


Mind the Gap: Lessons Learned from Neurorights, Science & Diplomacy (Feb. 28, 2022) (with Karen S. Rommelfanger and Arleen Salles).

Beating Pain with Psychedelics: Matter over Mind?, Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews (2021) (with Igor Elman & David Borsook). Abstract

Brain Imaging Tests for Chronic Pain: Medical, Legal and Ethical Issues and Recommendations, 13 Nature Reviews Neurology 624 (2017) (with others).

Legal Evidence of Subjective States: A Brain-Based Model of Chronic Pain Increases Accuracy and Fairness in Law, 25 Harvard Review of Psychiatry 279 (2017).

Legal Evidence of Subjective States: A Brain-Based Model of Chronic Pain Increases Accuracy and Fairness in Law, 25 Harvard Review of Psychiatry 279 (2017).

Imaging Brains, Changing Minds: How Pain Neuroimaging Can Inform the Law, 66 Alabama Law Review 1099 (2015). Abstract

"And if Your Friends Jumped Off a Bridge, Would You Do it too?": How Developmental Neuroscience Can Inform Legal Regimes Governing Adolescents, 12 Indiana Health Law Review 533 (2015) (with Michael N. Tennison). Abstract

Adolescent Medical Decision Making and the Law of the Horse, 15 Journal of Health Care Law & Policy 1 (2012) (with Leslie Meltzer Henry). Abstract

Pain as Fact and Heuristic: How Pain Neuroimaging Illuminates Moral Dimensions of Law, 97 Cornell Law Review 801 (2012). Abstract

Violence on the Brain: A Critique of Neuroscience in Criminal Law, 44 Wake Forest Law Review 183 (2009). Abstract

Prisons of the Mind: Social Value and Economic Inefficiency in the Criminal Justice Response to Mental Illness, 96 Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 217 (2006). Abstract

Book Review, Broad, Deep & Indirect: The Potential Influence of Neuroscience in Law, 2 Biosocieties 357 (2006) (reviewing Michael S. Gazzaniga, The Ethical Brain (2006)). Abstract

Note, Private Ordering, Legal Ordering, and the Getting of Children: A Counterhistory of Adoption Law, 20 Yale Law & Policy Review 263 (2002).