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PhD Supervision Interests
I have supervised doctoral research in areas ranging from health and citizenship, biobanking and human tissue collections, enhancement and biomedicalization, and identity-formation in the context of genetic knowledge.
My academic training was in literary and cultural studies, before my interest turned to studying the social implications of human genetics research in the late 1990s. I completed a PhD with Sarah Franklin and Maureen McNeil in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University in 2002, and then took up a post-doc post in SATSU (Science and Technology Studies Unit) at University of York working with Anne Kerr and Sarah Cunningham-Burley on an ESRC funded project called Transformations in Genetic Subjecthood. When this research finished, I moved to the Institute for Science and Society (ISS) at the University of Nottingham and collaborated with Paul Martin (at ISS), Richard Ashcroft (Queen Mary's), George Ellison (St George's London), and Andrew Smart (Bath Spa) on the 'Race/ethnicity and Genetics in Science and Health' Project, which was funded by the Wellcome Trust's Biomedical Ethics Programme. In September 2007, I took up the post of Senior Lecturer in Cesagen at Lancaster University.
I am currently on sabbatical leave writing a book with the working title of Personalizing Biomedicine? From Care to Capital.
I also became the co-editor (with Adam Hedgecoe) of New Genetics and Society in January 2013.
I am currently on sabbatical until August 2013. Prior to that I taught on:
For 2013-14, I am offering a new module called 'Imagining the Future' (SOCL315)
The module will address both how the future has been looked into through various techniques in order to gain a foresight into what might happen and how the future has been looked at in terms of how imaginings of the future circulate inthe present through the work of scientists, artists, filmmakers, writers, academics, politicians and others. What effect do visions of the future have onthe present? How do they persuade us to change our behaviour or not? What do cinematic and literary representations of the future tell us about the world today and our fears and hopes? How have ideas of the future changed over time? In light of the financial crisis, and today's ?age of austerity', do we see the future differently?
If you are interested in taking the module and have any questions please get in touch.
My research is at the intersection of the sociology of health and illness and the social studies of science and has been focused in broad terms on questions of subjectivity, futures and politics in relation to biomedical knowledge and practices.
My current research centres on "personalized medicine", which is a powerful vision of how biomedicine and healthcare is changing to customize forms of knowledge and interventions to different groups of patients and consumers.
I am currently working on a book that takes a historically informed approach to how visions of personalized medicine have been constructed in different scientific, commercial and political arenas. I locate the rise of personalized medicine within a broader trend of 'biomedicalization' (Clarke et al 2010) that entails the stratification of patients according to both emerging genotypic and established social categories. I am documenting and examining the ways in which a range of actors have sought to realize their visions of personalized medicine across a number of interrelated arenas.
When I worked in Cesagen (ESRC Centre for Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics), I was involved in a project with Professor Adam Hedgecoe and Dr Chris Groves examining the emergence of the direct-to-consumer personal genomics industry (companies such as California-based 23andMe) which promises to transform the relationship between patients and doctors by empowering people with information about their future genetic risks, and to usher in a new consumer-led model of conducting biomedical research. However, this is also a highly controversial industry that has been subject to much debate: scientists, clinicians and ethicists question the scientific validity and reliability of personal genomics services and criticize the direct-to-consumer approach for excluding professional counselling and support. Using approaches developed in STS to study the formation of markets and on the role of "expectations" in innovation, our work investigates the promise and controversy around the emergence of "personal genomics" as a case study of how markets are being realized and organized today in personalized medicine.
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