Lectures

Understated, not overlooked

A Simpler Life: Synthetic Biological Experiments

Talia Dan-Cohen

Cornell University Press, 2021. 174 pages.

First, take a self-consciously self-aggrandizing area of bioengineering, “synthetic biology,” which was said to aim at nothing less than “the design and construction of novel life-forms” (Dan-Cohen, p.12), an apparently clear claim made by those with a platform from which to make it, one that is in …

Lectures

On the Search for the Origins of COVID-19: A Forum

This article is part of the series:

More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the origin of the virus causing the disease remains uncertain. The predominant theory is that its emergence in human populations was the result of zoonotic transmission, via an as-yet to be determined animal host. A competing (if still marginal) theory holds that a more likely source of the initial outbreak was an …

Lectures

The scientific entrepreneur as hero: from Arrowsmith to the covid-19 vaccines

This article is part of the series:
Cover Arrowsmith, Pocket Books, 1944 Edition

Sinclair Lewis’s novel Arrowsmith, published in 1925 to critical and public acclaim (the book was awarded the Pulitzer prize, although Lewis refused it), is a bildungsroman with an unusual hero: a young doctor cum scientist, Martin Arrowsmith (Lewis, 1925). The hero’s career includes a range of roles and positions: he is at …

Lectures

(Dis)continuities in cancer care: An ethnographic approximation to practices of disease stratification

Background:

Disease stratification practices have long been used as a means to produce and make sense of  cancer, distinguishing ‘types’, tumour development stages, and even patients’ sociodemographic profiles. However, interest in stratification; that is, the process of dividing oncology populations into clinically meaningful subtypes, has been re-invigorated by two recent developments in medicine and healthcare. First, an increased awareness of …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Beyond Using More Female Rats: Gender Disparities in Biomedicine

Recently, physicians, public health experts, and anthropologists (among others) have pointed to a prevalence of gender, class, race, age, and ethnic bias in biomedical research and the specific ways in which knowledges about bodies are created and reproduced in biomedicine.

In the 19th century, when the long-standing idea of women’s inferiority was brought into question more …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: CRISPR Babies and Bioethics

In late November, He Jiankui, a scientist in China, announced that he had created the first “CRISPR babies,” meaning that he performed germ-line genome edits on human embryos, which were implanted through in vitro fertilization (IVF), and has now resulted the birth of twin girls. He used CRISPR-Cas9, a genome editing technology that can target DNA at precise

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