Our Team

Management & Operations

Jonathan Leighton

Executive Director

Jonathan founded OPIS in 2016 and brings a mixture of rationality and creativity to his passion of helping to prevent suffering in the world. A research molecular biologist by training, Jonathan holds an AB from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of Basel. He spent several years in industry before turning to writing and public speaking on ethics and compassion. He is the author of a new book titled The Tango of Ethics: Intuition, Rationality and the Prevention of Suffering (2023), which develops a more holistic approach to ethics based on phenomenological experience and the urgency of suffering, and The Battle for Compassion: Ethics in an Apathetic Universe (2011), which methodically addresses the question “What matters?” He also produced a short film to communicate some of the key ideas from his first book. @JonLeighton1

Jean-Christophe Lurenbaum

Associate

Jean-Christophe decided at an early age to dedicate his life to organising the creation of greater happiness in the world. With this aim, he first trained as an economist and became a key strategist in charge of major projects at France’s largest public corporation, La Poste. He wrote Naître est-il dans l’intérêt de l’enfant? Idéologie de reproduction versus non-souffrance (2011), the result of a decades-long historical exploration of the conflict between the ethic of non-suffering and the ideology of reproduction. In 2013 he co-founded the Algosphere Alliance, a network and direct democracy for the alleviation of suffering.

Manu Herrán

Associate

Manu is a passionate thinker and communicator dedicated to finding ways to prevent suffering. A computer engineer, he has created AI and life simulations, and he is the author of fiction stories and about 100 essays investigating issues related to evolution, cooperation, conscience, sentience, intelligence, death, ethics and other themes. He is the founder of the REDcientifica magazine and author of the philosophical book Arena Sensible (in Spanish; “Sensitive Sand”). Manu is a regular public speaker on animal suffering and also on the neglected possibility of suffering in inorganic substrates. Most recently he established Sentience Research.  @mherran

Robert Daoust

Associate

Robert is one of the world’s experts on suffering and has long advocated for a discipline dedicated to its study, for which he created the term “algonomy”. Over the years he has systematically compiled a wealth of references and accumulated extensive knowledge on the topic of suffering, for which he was a main contributor to the Wikipedia entry. In 2013 he co-founded the Algosphere Alliance, a network and global democracy for the alleviation of suffering.

Sorin Ionescu

Associate

Sorin holds a Master in Software Engineering from Concordia University in Montreal and has a background in artificial intelligence. After 17 years in software development, he turned his attention to animal rights and environmental activism. He has worked with organisations such as the Algosphere Alliance, Extinction Rebellion and Animal Rebellion, and was a founder of Vegan Option Canada and the Plant-Based Transition Coalition. Sorin dedicates much of his time to avoiding a dystopic or catastrophic future, with a focus on the metacrisis, the polycrisis and existential risk.

Abi Russell

Strategic Catalyst

Abi graduated with a degree in law from Newcastle University, after which she worked in various locations across Europe, primarily with people forced to flee their homes. She then joined Second Tree, a grassroots organisation working with refugees in Northern Greece, where as Chief of Staff she has been instrumental in its management and growth. Second Tree’s vision encompasses inclusivity, where there is no “other” and refugees are seen as autonomous individuals rather than victims. Curious and caring, Abi is driven by her dedication to making the world a better place, and she joined the OPIS team to help us achieve our ambitious goals.

Lydia Ruyi Shi

Researcher

Lydia is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method at the LSE in London. A polymath with a deep interest as well in psychology, human behaviour and applied ethics, Lydia is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and a member of the high-IQ International Society for Philosophical Enquiry (ISPE). She is closely aligned with OPIS’s values and approach to global societal change, and is working on various aspects of our project on compassionate governance.

Francesco Amighetti

Researcher

Francesco is a proposal writer and project manager for EU-funded projects. He studied at Bocconi University Milano and has worked as an energy analyst and researcher. He is an editor and blogger at Scibile.org, exploring the interconnection between digital wellbeing, mindful productivity and creativity.

Juan-Pablo L’Huillier

Ambassador on Pain Relief

Juan-Pablo is a marketing and communication professional working in the cultural and music scene. He developed a severe case of SUNCT, a devastatingly painful condition that destroyed his life until he found relief through treatments with ayahuasca. He joined OPIS to share his experience of intense suffering and advocate for better solutions, including the use of psychedelics as an effective treatment for some conditions.


Advisory Board

David Pearce

David is an influential philosopher who defends a form of negative utilitarianism and advocates for the abolition of suffering in all sentient life, an argument he detailed in The Hedonistic Imperative, a book-length web-based manifesto from 1995. A committed vegan and an inspiration to countless philosophers and activists for his compassion and intellect, David is also a leading figure in the transhumanist movement and co-founder of Humanity+. He envisions a world where science and technology are used to replace suffering with gradients of bliss. @webmasterdave

Samah Atout

Samah is a humanist, career diplomat and political advisor dedicated to building a more peaceful civil society. She held key diplomatic positions representing Palestine at the UN in Geneva and at the EU in Brussels. She has worked as a lobbyist to European Union institutions and as a political advisor to the President of the UN General Assembly, and served with the UN in Libya to work with the General National Congress President on institutional building. Samah has also founded two key social projects in the West Bank, Project Hope and Zajel, and is a partner at a private investment boutique in Geneva. She strongly believes that change towards a more peaceful world is possible through grassroots work and diplomacy.

Sandeep Sibal

Sandeep is CEO of Fourth Frontier, which builds wireless products for assessing health and enhancing wellbeing using novel biosensors and advanced algorithms. The technology allows the objective measurement of stress and pain and its management, and is applicable to both humans and other mammals. Previous positions included VP Business Development for India and South Asia at Qualcomm and Founder & CTO of hi-tech startup Kirusa. He is also a co-inventor of 25 US patents. Sandeep has a keen interest in the prevention of suffering of all sentient beings. He is a patron of Amnesty International, PETA and Humane Society International, and has participated in the India Against Corruption movement. He also serves on the board of GiveIndia, one of India’s leading philanthropic exchanges. @sandeepsibal

Andrés Gómez Emilsson

Andrés is a consciousness researcher at the Qualia Research Institute. He holds degrees in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Science and in Computational Psychology from Stanford University, where he also co-founded the Stanford Transhumanist Association. Andrés grew up in Mexico and represented his country in international math and science Olympiads. He has a wide range of interests and experience at the intersection of mathematics, philosophy and psychology. He is currently researching the mathematical and neurological correlates of hedonic states including bliss, with a deep passion for finding ways to abolish the hell of extreme suffering. He writes a fascinating, eclectic blog called Qualia Computing. @algekalipso

Tobias Leenaert

Tobias is an international public speaker and writes a popular blog called The Vegan Strategist. Together with Melanie Joy he co-founded and co-directs the Center for Effective Vegan Advocacy. He is known for his pragmatic, non-confrontational approach to encouraging people to adopt a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle. Tobias was also the founder of the Belgian non-profit vegetarian organisation EVA, and was elected a Fellow of Ashoka, an international organisation supporting high impact social entrepreneurs. @TobiasLeenaert

Nell Watson

Nell is an engineer, entrepreneur and futurist thinker who grew up in Northern Ireland. Nell lectures globally on Machine Intelligence, AI philosophy, Human-Machine relations and the Future of Human Society. She is also Co-Founder of OpenEth.org, an ‘ethical explication engine’ that aims to crowdsource ethical heuristics for autonomous systems, and she serves on the Faculty of AI & Robotics at Singularity University. @NellWatson

Corin Ism

Corin is co-founder of the Future of Governance Agency (FOGA), which brings governance innovation and power literacy to the public and its institutions, and is the co-author of “How to Rule a World – a guide to the established and emerging tools for power and governance in the 21st century”, to be released at the end of 2020. Corin belongs to the faculty of Singularity University’s Nordic Branch, teaching distributed ledger technology (blockchains) and governance, and was research director for Bitnation. They are also the principal investigator of the first governance study in a Mars simulation, spending September 2019 in the Himalayas in an isolated, confined and extreme environment with a crew to develop design principles for space societies. Corin was the Executive Director of the Global Challenges Foundation and led the inception and development of the New Shape Prize, which in 2018 awarded $1.8 million to the best ideas re-envisioning global governance from more than 2700 proposals. They also chair the Swedish branch of Effective Altruism.

Oscar Horta

Oscar teaches philosophy at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He has been involved in vegan and anti-speciesist activism since the mid-1990’s and is a member of the organisation Animal Ethics. His main fields of work are speciesism and the moral consideration of animals living in the wild. He has many publications addressing these issues and has given talks about them in more than 15 countries.

Matt Ball

Matt is co-founder and President of One Step For Animals, which takes a pragmatic approach to reducing as much as possible the number of animals suffering. Matt is a globally recognised authority on animal advocacy, factory farming, vegan diets and applied ethics. He has been Director for Engagement and Outreach for Farm Sanctuary and Senior Advisor for VegFund. Matt has presented at and written for diverse forums and is the author of many essays and several books, including The Animal Activist’s Handbook, The Accidental Activist, and his recent memoir and collection of essays, Losing My Religions.

Jamie Catto

Jamie is a creative catalyst – a musician, filmmaker, author and coach who also runs workshops on personal development. Jamie was a founding member of the British supergroup Faithless and one half of the film-and-music project One Giant Leap. Jamie has become a strong opponent of factory farming and the suffering it causes to animals, viewing it as one of the greatest moral issues of our time, and actively supports creative projects to help end it. @JamieCatto

Lucius Caviola

Lucius is a co-founder and current advisor to the Effective Altruism Foundation. He studied psychology at the Universities of Basel and Oxford and is carrying out research in cognitive and moral psychology at the Department for Experimental Psychology and at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford. He previously worked as an IT entrepreneur. @LuciusCaviola

Joe Brewer

Joe is a complexity researcher and a leader in the field of culture design, dedicated to helping humanity make the transition to sustainability. Much of his work has focused on values, identity and modes of thought that shape cultural understandings of political and social issues. He is co-founder and editor of Evonomics magazine, served as research director for TheRules.org, and is coordinator for the newly forming Cultural Evolution Society. @cognitivepolicy