Talk by Aníbal Monasterio Astobiza: “The Morality of Head Transplant”.

Date and Time: September 28th, Monday, 11.30 am.

Location: Carlos Santamaría Building, Room B14

Speaker: Aníbal Monasterio Astobiza (independent researcher)

Title: The Morality of Head Transplant


In 1970 Robert J. White tried to transplant the head of a monkey to the body of another monkey. He was inspired by the work of another scientist, a truly pioneer in organ transplantation: Vladimir Demikhov (1916-1998). Both White and Demikhov were ahead of their time. They devised to transplant heads, firstly in dogs (Demikhov´s milestone), then in monkeys (White´s achievement). In 2013 Sergio Canavero of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group (TANG) in Italy, spoke of his plans to carry out the first human head transplantation (Canavero 2015). Thirty years after the first attempts to transplant heads in non-human animals, scientists contemplate now the first human head transplant. Spinal linkage offers now the possibility of transplanting the head and, by doing so, circunventing  many of the somatic diseases afflicting human beings. In this talk we explore the feasibility of human head transplants and highlight the ethical problems associated to.