Ryan Abbott

Prof Ryan Abbott

Professor of Law and Health Sciences



Professor Abbott is highly regarded for his scholarship, teaching, and professional activities. His legal research has focused in three areas: the impact of autonomous machines and technological advances, intellectual property issues in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and the use of informational regulation and market-based mechanisms by health regulatory agencies. His work on autonomous machines has included recent publications in the George Washington Law Review, Harvard Law and Policy Review, and the Boston College Law Review on autonomous machines and accident law, tax policy, and intellectual property, respectively. His work with health regulatory agencies has included publications in the Duke Law Journal and the Iowa Law Review. His monograph, "The Reasonable Robot: Autonomous Machines and the Law" is forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2019.

Professor Abbott has worked as General Counsel and Medical Director of a mid-stage biotechnology company, and has been Of Counsel at law firms where he specialized in intellectual property litigation and transactional matters for pharmaceutical and medical device clients. He has served as a consultant for international organizations, academic institutions and non-profit enterprises including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Professor Abbott has also worked as an expert witness which has included testifying in U.S. federal court.

Professor Abbott is a licensed and board certified physician, attorney, and acupuncturist in the United States, as well as a solicitor (non-practicing) in England and Wales. He is a graduate of the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine (M.D.) and the Yale Law School (J.D.), as well as a Summa Cum Laude graduate from Emperor's College (M.T.O.M.) and a Summa Cum Laude graduate from University of California, Los Angeles (B.S.). Professor Abbott has been the recipient of numerous research fellowships, scholarships and awards, and has served as Principal Investigator of clinical research studies at the University of California. He is a registered patent attorney with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and a member of the California and New York State Bars. He is also a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA).

Research interests

Professor Abbott has a variety of research interests that reflect his multi-disciplinary background. He writes on a range of topics related to health law, intellectual property, as well as law and technology. He has published significant works on health care financing, access to medicines, and big data. He has also completed clinical studies in medicine, and legal research projects related to traditional knowledge, integrative health, and emerging technologies. For further information and downloadable papers, please see SSRN.

Prospective students interested in pursuing research matching his scholarly and research interests are welcome to make informal enquiries.

Departmental duties

Director of Research (Impact)

Select Videos of Professor Abbott

Debate with Richard Epstein. "FDA Involvement in Off-Label Drug Use." Jan 13, 2014. Watch.

UCLA School of Medicine Surgery Grand Rounds. "California's Malpractice System: Fair or Failed?" Aug 27, 2014. Watch.

Select Media Coverage

TRT World, Rise of the Robots: Part I (Watch) and Part II (Watch).

BBC, Free Thinking Radio 3. Robots, Makt Myrkranna. Listen.

Scott Graham. "Patent Law at the AI Crossroads." Law.com. April 1, 2016. View.

"Measles Outbreak: Expert Weighs in on Vaccine Debate." ABC7. February 4, 2015. (Video). Watch.

“Perineal Self-Acupressure for Constipation?” New England Journal of Medicine Journal Watch (Audio). May 7, 2015. Listen.

Basken, Paul. “Supreme Court's Ruling on Gene Patents Opens New Avenues for University Research.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 17 Jun. 2013. View.

Wharton, David. "Pac-12 Football Coaches Hush-Hush About Hurt Players." Los Angeles Times, 20 Sep. 2012: C1. Print. View.

Media Contacts

Contact the press team



Phone: +44 (0)1483 684380 / 688914 / 684378
Out-of-hours: +44 (0)7773 479911
Senate House, University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 7XH

My publications

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