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Geographies of bioscience and biomedicine

Researchers in the theme show how the biosciences are changing how we understand disease and its agents, the role of scientific research in society, and ideas of human difference. Biomedical innovations generate new global circulations, the theme of a symposium held by the research group at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva on ‘Bodies across Borders: the global circulation of bodily commodities, patients and medical professionals,’ which brought together research theme members, international scholars and policy-makers concerned with the impacts of bioscience. Research in theme connects these new circulations to the economic, political and health inequalities that define our contemporary moment. On-going research explores the spatial and profit-maximising tactics of the pharmaceutical industry, exposing on-going marginalisation, dispossession and exploitation of human subjects in clinical trials (Stephen Taylor, ESRC). Theme members are actively involved in the QMUL Life Sciences Initiative and their research contributes to solving a series of grand challenges related to the life sciences. Emerging from this Initiative is interdisciplinary research that explores what motivates people with mental health problems in East London to participate in medical research and casts a critical eye on established retention practices in clinical trials (Paulina Szymczynska, LSI studentship). Adding a historical angle to the study of global circulation of bodies and medical ideas is research on imperial medical knowledge and wider networks of patients and practitioners in late Victorian London (Kristin Hussey, QMUL Principal’s Studentship).

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