In This Issue: Latest News Postgraduate bursaries 2013-14 Forthcoming events this term Past events Research updates Outreach New publications
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Newsletter Number 1 Welcome to the first e-newsletter from the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine (SSHM) at King’s College London. We hope you enjoy it and please do pass it on to colleagues. -Dr Cathy Hebrand, Editor
Latest news Modelling the human brain SSHM is a partner in the Human Brain Project (HBP), a venture that brings together dozens of groups of neuroscientists from many countries. Led by Henry Markram of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology at Lausanne, the aim is to simulate the human brain in a supercomputer, stimulating the development of neuromorphic computing and facilitating medical advances in brain disorders and treatments. This European consortium of scientists have been awarded a grant of over one billion euros, over ten years, to simulate 'everything we know about the human brain' in supercomputers. Our Department will receive around €0.5 million in the 'ramp-up phase' – the first 30 months – to develop a 'Foresight Laboratory' which will undertake a systematic foresight initiative, using a spectrum of research methods, to provide a series of visions of how the scientific and technological advancement understandings of the human brain achieved via the HBP may impact on our societies over the next 20 years and to feed these back into the work of the HBP. More information. Nikolas Rose’s new book, with Joelle M. Abi-Rached, published: Neuro: the New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013. Neuro examines the implications of this emerging trend, weighing the promises against the perils, and evaluating some widely held concerns about a neurobiological "colonization" of the social and human sciences. Despite identifying many exaggerated claims and premature promises, Neuro argues that the openness provided by the new styles of thought taking shape in neuroscience, with its contemporary conceptions of the neuromolecular, plastic, and social brain, could make possible a new and productive engagement between the social and brain sciences. New appointments in Social Science, Health and Medicine We are delighted to announce the details of our further recent academic appointments: Professor John Abraham Professor of Sociology As a political sociologist of science, technology & medicine and medical sociologist, John has particular interests in the development, testing and regulation of drug safety/efficacy/innovation and the sociology and politics of the pharmaceutical industry worldwide. He will greatly strengthen our research and policy work in the crucial area of pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical regulation. He has published over a hundred articles (over 70 in major international journals, including over 50 empirical research articles in
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high-impact-factor, ISI-listed journals), seven authored books (mainly empirical fieldworkbased research monographs), two edited books, and numerous reports to ESRC, MRC, and other Research, Governmental, and Non-Governmental Organisations. Dr Barbara Prainsack Reader Barbara's main research interest lies in the ways in which science, religion and politics mutually constitute each other, and what effect this process has on how we understand ourselves as human beings, persons, and citizens, as well as on the emergence of regulatory approaches. Barbara explores these questions by looking at the use of ‘biomarkers’, both in medical and forensic contexts. In the medical realm, her current work focuses on the emergence of personalised medicine and the ‘participatory turn’ in generating, analysing, and interpreting data. In the realm of forensics she is interested in the impact of forensic technologies on attitudes and strategies of prisoners; the societal and regulatory dimensions of forensic bioinformation exchange, and the increasing convergence between biomarkers used in forensic and medical practices. Dr Courtney Davis Senior Lecturer in Sociology Courtney is a medical and political sociologist with broad research interests in the intersections of science and technology policy, business regulation and public health. For over ten years she has undertaken empirically-based, policy relevant international comparative research investigating the socio-political, economic, cultural and scientific factors underlying trends in regulation and the implications of current techno-scientific standards for public, patient and worker health in relation to two distinct fields of inquiry: pharmaceuticals and occupational health and safety. Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram Lecturer in global health, and Director of the MSc in Global Health & Social Justice Sridhar’s research aims to bridge normative reasoning, particularly about social justice, with relevant natural and social sciences related to human health. Sridhar has over twenty years experience in the practice and academic study of global health ethics. His academic training traverses a range of disciplines including international relations (Brown), public health (Harvard), sociology (Cambridge) and political philosophy (Cambridge). He comes to King’s from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he was a Lecturer in global health ethics and philosophy, and a Wellcome Trust Fellow in ethics. Dr Dominique P. Béhague Senior Lecturer Dominique is a social anthropologist trained at Bryn Mawr College in the US (1991 -- BA, 1992 -- MA) and McGill University in Canada (2004 – PhD). Specializing in the ethnography of Brazil and the anthropology of health and biomedicine, Dominique has developed specific interests in psychiatry, reproductive health and the politics of global health research. In 2009 she completed an MSc in Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) in an effort to support her long-standing engagement with interdisciplinary research and to complement her growing interest in the anthropology of statistical and “qualitative” forms of reasoning in global health. Dr Laurie Corna Lecturer Laurie’s background is in social gerontology and critical social theory within the broader field of public health. After completing her PhD at the University of Toronto in 2011, she continued her research in the Department of Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Laurie’s research is principally concerned with better understanding health and economic inequalities among older adults in the context of the life course and in comparative perspective. Her current
programme of research includes a comparison of methods for modelling detailed labour market and family histories and a project assessing how gendered labour market and family experiences shape health inequalities among older adults in four theoretically relevant welfare states. Catherine Jefferson Research Assistant Catherine joined the department in January 2013 as research assistant on the social dimensions of synthetic biology project. Before joining SSHM, Catherine served as a Senior Policy Adviser for International Security at the Royal Society, where she led a project on Neuroscience, Conflict and Security. Prior to this she was a research fellow at the Harvard Sussex Program on Chemical and Biological Weapons, University of Sussex, where she also obtained her DPhil. Des Fitzgerald, Visiting Research Associate, viva success Des passed his PhD viva, without correction, in January 2013. His thesis, ‘Tracing Autism: ambiguity and difference in a neuroscientific research practice,’ was supervised by Professor Nikolas Rose, and was examined by Professor Elizabeth Wilson(Emory University) and Dr Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths College). The thesis explored neuroscientists’ on-going search for a brain-based biomarker for autism: situating itself within a series of interviews with neuroscientists who work on the autism spectrum. It argued that while the neuroscience of autism might be seen as a process of gradual ‘neurobiologization’ or neuromedicalization,’ talking to autism neuroscientists reveals a practice much more complex, much more ambiguous, much less monolithic, and also much less certain, than the sociological literature yet fully realizes. The thesis showed how autism neuroscience may work, in fact, by tracing its way across some very different and ambiguous commitments – carefully negotiating the space between the biological and diagnostic definitions of autism, the hope and disappointment of neuroimaging technology, as well as the intellectual and visceral commitments of laboratory research. More details. Des will re-join the Department as a Researcher in September on the Transformative Research Scheme project. Return of Professor Jenny Reardon (UC Santa Cruz), Visiting Professor Jenny returns to our Department until the first week of July. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate in Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering, as well as the co-Director and Founder of the Science and Justice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz. She will present her work developing the Science and Justice Training Program to the SSHM Interdisciplinary Workshop on June 17. She is also working with members of the department on developing the concept of ‘justice’ as a focal point for more productive science-society engagements.
Postgraduate Masters bursaries available We invite applications from candidates wishing to pursue Masters programmes, starting from September 2013. Bursaries are available for all our Masters programmes, including: MA in Bioethics & Society Prof Ilina Singh (Ilina.firstname.lastname@example.org) MSc in Global Health & Social Justice Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram (email@example.com) Special Issue Call For Papers – “The rise of developmental science: Debates on health and humanity”. Guest Editors: Dominique P Béhague (Vanderbilt University & King’s College London) and Samuel Lézé (École Normale Supérieure de Lyon)
Social Science & Medicine is soliciting papers for a Special Interdisciplinary Issue on the unique challenges arising in the creation of child/adolescent developmental expertise throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Taking child/adolescent developmental expertise as an object of socio-cultural analysis, this special issue aims to explore how normative and marginal trends in this scientific subfield evolve in diverse socio-cultural and geopolitical contexts. More information. Announcing a new website 'What is Biotechnology?' On February 14 2013, Dr Lara Marks, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine launched the website 'What is Biotechnology?' The website is intended to be a growing educational resource offering information on what biotechnology is, the people and institutions involved in its creation and the benefits and risks it brings to healthcare.
Forthcoming events 17 June 2013: SSHM Interdisciplinarity Workshop. This Departmental meeting will provide an open and informal space for colleagues to discuss the opportunities and challenges of interdisciplinary collaborations, to characterise the kinds of interdisciplinary collaborations we would like to foster, and to begin to develop a strategy to take these forward as they relate to the work of SSHM. We will focus both on interdisciplinarity WITHIN the department, and on our experience of collaborations with others, especially in joint work with life scientists and clinicians. For more information, please contact Claire Marris or Scott Vrecko, who are taking the organisational lead. 20 June 2013 (2pm): Workshop with Dr Frédéric Keck (Collège de France / CNRS) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Dr Keck is currently a researcher in social anthropology at the National Center for Scientific Research in France and the Collège de France. He has published books on Claude LéviStrauss, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, and he has conducted ethnographic research in Hong Kong on the control of avian influenza (Un monde grippé, Paris, Flammarion, 2010). Dr Keck is currently involved in a collaborative project with microbiologists focussed on the Anticipation of the Global Onset of Novel Epidemics. Roundtables: We continue to host weekly roundtables on Wednesdays from 2-3 pm, covering topics such as mental health in Iran, microbe farming, reproductive economy and technologies, cultural neurosciences, and pharmacogenetics. To join the group email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Past events 12 June 2013: Department Undergraduate Pre-Application Open Day An opportunity to visit our campus in the heart of London, meet our faculty and learn more about our unique inter-disciplinary programmes, including our innovative BSc Global Health & Social Medicine. Although primarily aimed at Undergraduate applicants, we invited postgraduate applicants and offer holders also to attend. Keep an eye on our website for future Open Days. 12 June 2013: Workshop with Professor Catherine Waldby (University of Sydney) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Catherine Waldby is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. She researches and publishes in social studies of biomedicine and the life sciences. She is particularly interested in HIV/AIDS, the relations between medicine and sexuality, modes of medical imaging and representation, the stem cell sciences and human tissue economies. She has received national and international research grants for her work on embryonic stem cells, blood donation and biobanking.
3 June 2013: Workshop with Professor Tobias Rees (McGill University) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Tobias Rees is Assistant Professor of Anthropology with a dual appointment in the Departments of Social Studies of Medicine and Anthropology. Prior to joining the McGill faculty he held positions at the Universities of Freiburg (Germany) and Zurich (Switzerland). Professor Rees' expertise lies at the intersection of anthropology, art history, history of science, and the philosophy of modernity and concerns the critical study of knowledge. More specifically, he is interested in how categories that order knowledge mutate over time (or differ across space) – and in what effects these mutations have on conceptions of the human. The main areas of Professor Rees' research have been emergent phenomena in the life sciences and in medicine, with a particular focus on neurobiology/neuropharmacology. 23 May 2013: Professor Paul Patton (University of New South Wales) “Governmentality and Public Reason: Foucault and Rawls” organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Paul Patton is currently Scientia Professor of Philosophy at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Paul's work has excelled in creating connections between 'analytic' and 'continental' styles of thought. His current work is exploring the relationship between Foucault and Rawls on questions of modern governmentality. He has published extensively on contemporary European philosophy and political philosophy, and is the author of, among other works, Deleuzian Concepts: Philosophy, Colonization, Politics (Stanford UP, 2010) and Deleuze and the Political (Routledge, 2000). 22 May 2013: Internal Research Seminar Series: Dr Francisco Ortega “The biopolitics of autism in Brazil”. Dr Ortega is an Associate Professor in the Institute for Social Medicine at State University of Rio de Janeiro and currently a Visiting Senior Research Fellow in SSHM. His research explores an issue of significant public and policy interest on the tensions around how the brain is mobilised in the field of autism. Moreover, he is interested in the examination of the many emerging ‘neuro-disciplines’ such as neuroethics, cultural neuroscience, neuroaesthetics, neuroascesis, the adolescent brain, and the cerebralization of autism and other psychiatric disorders. 14 & 15 May 2013: Workshop co-organised by Dr Erika Mansnerus and Dr Hauke Riesch for Crossing the Divides Conference, at Brunel University. This workshop explored the potential productive overlaps between the disciplines of Philosophy and Sociology. With a focus on two disputed domains, relations between the Philosophy of Science and the Sociology of Science and interactions between Bioethics and Sociological approaches to Ethics, our aim was to develop conceptual tools to reflect the fruitful interactions between these disciplines. 30 April 2013: Institute of Gerontology & Age UK annual lecture delivered by Baroness Pitkeathley, 'Social Care - our biggest problem or greatest opportunity?' Baroness Pitkeathley OBE delivered the Annual Lecture in memory of David Hobman, hosted by the Institute of Gerontology and Age UK at King's College London. Baroness Pitkeathley is Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords and Vice President of Carers UK. Baroness Pitkeathley discussed the challenges raised by an ageing society and called for wide public debate around the need for social care in later life. She welcomed the draft Care and Support Bill but raised concerns as to its implementation. 29 April 2013: Workshop on "Synthetic biology: containment and release of engineered micro-organisms" (organised by Claire Marris and Catherine Jefferson) The aim was to explore the prospects for synthetic biology applications for environmental and agricultural purposes that would require the intentional use of engineered microorganisms outside of laboratories and large-scale industrial installations. It brought together participants with very different kinds of expertise, from different sectors of society, and with diverse perspectives about synthetic biology, about environmental risks, and about research and innovation and its place in society. The scoping report for the workshop and a summary of the discussions will be available soon on the department's website. 18 April 2013: Public Research Seminar: Dr Barbara Gibson (University of Toronto) “Disability and Dignity Enabling Home Environments” (organised by the Ageing &
Society Research Group) Dr Gibson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Canada. In her talk Dr Gibson addressed the question of “What makes a home?” An abstract and a copy of her presentation can be found here. 26 March 2013: Workshop with Professor Vinh-Kim Nguyen (University of Montreal) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Vinh-Kim Nguyen is Associate Professor of Social Medicine at the University of Montreal. He is both medical anthropologist and a practicing HIV and Emergency physician. His research uses ethnography and social theory to examine contemporary biopolitics through the lens of global health, with a focus on global efforts to eradicate HIV. He received the Aurora Prize for best New Investigator from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada in 2007 and is the author of The Republic of Therapy which won the Joel Gregory Prize and, with Margaret Lock, of An Anthropology of Biomedicine which won the Choice Book Award. He has also published extensively in medical, public health, and anthropology journals. 20 February 2013: Workshop with Professor Veena Das (Johns Hopkins University) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Veena Das is the Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Anthropology at Johns Hopkins University and a founding member of the Institute of Socio-Economic Research on Development and Democracy in India. Her research topics are violence, suffering, subjectivity, rupture and recovery. Professor Das overarching interest has been, in her own words, “to understand the working of long time cultural logics in contemporary events as well as moments of rupture and recovery.” She has published widely on feminist movements, gender studies, sectarian violence, medical anthropology, and post-colonial and post-structural theory. 16 January 2013: Workshop with Professor Elizabeth Povinelli (Columbia University) organised by the Culture, Medicine and Power research group Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology & Gender Studies at Columbia University. She has directed the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, co-directed the Center for the Study of Law and Culture, and currently Chair of the Department of Anthropology. Povinell’s research seeks to produce a critical theory of late liberalism. She is the author of four books (Labor’s Lot, Chicago, 1994; The Cunning of Recognition, Duke, 2002; The Empire of Love, Duke 2006; Economies of Abandonment, Duke, 2011).
Research update Development and implementation of a research and intervention project to treat posttraumatic stress disorder in Nepal Hanna Kienzler received a Canada’s Rising Stars in Global Health grant for the project “Defeating the Giant with a Slingshot: Testing a New Technology to Fight the Global Trauma Epidemic” from Grand Challenges Canada in order to develop a research and intervention project to treat posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among torture survivors in Nepal. In February and March, she spent five weeks in Kathmandu and the Dang district in order to implement the project. Nikolas Rose together with Ilina Singh and Des Fitzgerald have been given an award under the ESRC Transformative Research Scheme for a project entitled "A new sociology for a new century: Transforming the Relations between Sociology and Neuroscience, through a Study of Mental Life and The City." Scott Vrecko was awarded a grant from the King's Policy Institute for the project, 'Establishing a multi-stakeholder, international perspective on health and equality dimensions of blood donation policies affecting men who have sex with men'.
This project will involve a programme of events and outputs that will increase understanding of scientific and social aspects of blood donation policies relating to 'men who have sex with men' (MSM). Claire Marris was awarded a grant from the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC), "In vivo integral feedback control for robust synthetic biology", to work collaboratively with colleagues at Imperial College (Guy-Bart Stan and Karen Polizzi). This project is a great example of interdisciplinary research involving synthetic biologists and social scientists. The research aims to produce a biological device for ‘Integral Feedback Control’ within cells, in order to engineer living cells that behave controllably in the face of changing conditions. Dr Hanna Kienzler wins grant for new pilot study "The interrelations between global health agendas and humanitarian and mental health aid programs in the Palestinian Territories" from the Council for British Research This pilot study investigates the new models of clinical practice merging at the intersection of global health agendas and humanitarian and mental-health aid in the Palestinian Territories. It maps national and international actors involved in the provision of mental healthcare and explores the different mental health services, the evidence on which the intervention strategies are based, and the existing paradigms that support such interventions and their ethical implications. Angela Filipe received a School of Social Science & Public Policy Small Award for Postgraduate Students.
Outreach Nikolas Rosevisits biopolitics research groups in Seoul and in Japan, leading to the development of a workshop on bioethics in Asia. In August 2012, Nikolas Rose gave a keynote address to the International Workshop on Biopolitics and Bioethics in Korea on "Politics of Life in the 21st Century". He also gave an interview to the influential Korean web magazine 'Pressian'. Article. In February 2013, Nikolas gave a lecture at Tokyo University on "Screen and Intervene: Governing mental disorder in the age of the biomarker". His principal hosts were a group at Osaka University working on biopolitics, and he lectured there on "Remaking the Human? Engineering bodies and souls in the 21st century" and "The Politics of Life in the 21st Century". He also had some interesting discussions with the group that is translating his last book into Japanese. Planning is underway for a follow-on workshop at King's on Biopolitics in Asia. Professor Anthea Tinker visited Australia in May 2013 as the Principal Investigator on a Randomised Control Trial on Social Isolation based at the University of Adelaide. Anthea Tinker took part in discussions at the University of Adelaide on the project and future collaborations and met with other PIs and collaborators from across Australia. She also gave presentations and lectures on the project (including updating the research team on Social Isolation in Europe) and on other research projects. This included a presentation to the Australian Association of Gerontology, South Australia branch of Grandparents in Europe, to the Centre for Housing, Regional Planning at the University on the topic of Retaining Participants in Longitudinal Research and on Long Term Care to the Federal Ministry of Health and Ageing. Discussions, mainly on Long Term Care, were held with major providers of care, the Ministerial Advisory Group on Ageing, and other policy makers. Visits were made to 3 major Care Facilities and 2 Retirement Communities. Claire Marris was invited to become a member of US National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Science, Technology, and Law Forum on Synthetic Biology, launched in April 2013. Claire Marris was invited to participate in a Discussion Dinner at the House of Commons on the Social and Economic Impact of Synthetic Biology, hosted by Julian Huppert MP and Professor Dale Sanders, Director, John Innes Centre. 13 Feb. 2013
New publications Abdul-Karim, R., Berkman, BE., Wendler, D., Rid, A., Khan, J., Badgett, T., Hull, SC. (2013) Disclosure of Incidental Findings from Next Generation Sequencing in Pediatric Genomic Research. Pediatrics, 131: 564-571. More information. Béhague, DP & Storeng, KT. (2013) “Pragmatic politics and epistemological diversity: the contested and authoritative uses of historical evidence in the Safe Motherhood Initiative.” Evidence and Policy, 9(1): 65-85 (special volume edited by Helen Lambert). Behague, DP. (2013) “Unconventional Psychiatric Medico-Politicization: The Making and Unmaking of Behavioral Disorders in Pelotas, Brazil,” In Troubling Natural Categories: Engaging the Medical Anthropology of Margaret Lock, edited by Naomi Adelson and Pam Wakewich (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013). Bisdee, D., Price, D. & Daly, T. (2013) ‘Coping with age-related threats to role identity: older couples and the management of household money’. Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology. First View, available on: doi:10.1002/casp.2149 Bisdee, D., Daly, T. & Price, D. (2013) ‘Behind Closed Doors: Older Couples and the Gendered Management of Household Money’. Social Policy & Society, 12(1): 163-174. Corna, LM. & Sacker, A. (2013) A lifetime of experience: Modelling the labour market and family histories of older adults in Britain. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 4(1): 33-56. Corna, LM. (2013) ‘A life course perspective on socioeconomic inequalities in health: A critical review of conceptual frameworks’. Advances in Life Course Research, article. *Fitzgerald, D. (July 2013) ‘The affective labour of autism neuroscience: entangling emotions, thought and feelings in a scientific research practice,’ Subjectivity, 62(2). Kienzler, H. (2012) ‘Réponses psychiatriques aux problèmes de santé liés au trauma dans le Kosova de l’après-guerre’ In J.C. Suarez-Herrera & M.J. Blain (Eds.), La recherche en sante mondiale. Perspectives socio-anthropologiques, pp. 213-228. 114 Cahiers scientifiques de l’Acfas. Montréal: Acfas. Mansnerus, M. (2013) ‘Using model-based evidence in the governance of pandemics’ Sociology of Health and Illness Special Issue: Pandemics and Emerging Infectious Diseases: the Sociological Agenda, 35(2): 280–291. Price, D. & Livsey, L. (in press, 27 June 2013) ‘Financing later life: pensions, care, housing equity and the new politics of old age’. In Social Policy Review 25: Analysis and debate in social policy, 2013. Bristol: The Policy Press. Price, D., Bisdee, D., Daly, T., Livsey, L. & Higgs, P. (2012) ‘Financial planning for social care in later life: the ‘shadow’ of fourth age dependency’. Ageing and Society. p. 1-23, First View, available on CJO2012: doi:10.1017/S0144686X12001018 Rose N.(2013) ‘The Human Sciences in a Biological Age’ Theory, Culture & Society, 30(1): 3-34. *(In Press) Storeng, KT and Béhague, DP “Playing the “Numbers Game”: Evidence-Based Advocacy for Safe Motherhood and the eclipsing of social justice” Medical Anthropology Quarterly. Vrecko, S. (2013) 'Just how cognitive is 'cognitive enhancement'? On the significance of emotions in university students' experiences with study drugs.' American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience, 4(1): 4-12.