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Sahra Gibbon

Sahra Gibbon

Tel:  +44 (0)20 7679 4809

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8632

E-mail: s.gibbon@ucl.ac.uk

Room: 240

PhD Social Anthropology University College London, UK 2003

Post-Doctoral Research Fellow University College London 

  • ESRC 2003-2004
  • Wellcome Trust 2004-2007

Wellcome Trust Research Fellow 2008-2013

Current: Lecturer 

Research Interests

  • Genomic knowledges/technologies and public health in comparative cultural arenas (especially Latin America)
  • Gender, kinship, breast cancer and 'BRCA' genetics
  • Biosocialities and communities of health activism
  • Inter and cross-disciplinary research practices

Current Research For the past ten years my research has focused on examining the social and cultural dimensions of developments in the field of medicine described as ‘breast cancer genetics’. My doctoral research was based in the UK looking at the interface between gendered cultures of breast cancer activism and the translation of knowledge and technologies associated with two inherited susceptibility genes discovered in the 1990s - BRCA 1 and BRCA2. The results of this study, which involved ethnographic research in clinical and non clinical arenas with patients, health professionals and publics, was subsequently published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan in the monograph entitled Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge.

Since then I have continued  research in the area of BRCA genetics and breast cancer exploring the changing and dynamic relationship between 'publics' and 'scientists' in an era of (post)genomic medicine in the comparative cultural context of Cuba and more recently Brazil. My interests here include examining how and with what consequences the transnational fields of genomic medicine are being translated in diverse cultural arenas at the interface with the politics and practice of public health care. More recently I have become interested in how growing interest in genetic ancestry, human genetic variation and health disparities have begun to intersect in the context of cancer genetics. This interest forms the backdrop to a five year collaborative project I am currently undertaking in Brazil as part of a Wellcome Trust University Award examining how ancestry, identity and risk are being configured in the context of an expanding field of cancer genetic research and clinical intervention.

I have long standing interests in inter-disciplinary ways of working, both developing and reflecting on the  opportunities and challenges this way of carrying out research in and on the lifesciences poses for social and natural scientists confronting novel developments in genomics. In recent years I have been involved in co-organising a number of workshops and conferences both in London and more recently in Brazil that have brought together a range of participants to explore these issues further. I remain committed to developing these conversations, to exploring and expanding the scope of cross disciplinary research and teaching

Present and Previous Teaching

I teach a range of courses in the Medical Anthropology section. This includes co-teaching with colleagues core courses on Medical Anthropology and also convening and teaching both undergraduate and post-graduate option modules on Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine. 

I also co-convene the Biosocialities, Health and Citizenship RRG with Aaron Parkhurst and Jesse Bia that meets regularly to explore the interface between new technologies, biomedicine and identity. 

PhD Students

First supervisor

  • Jessie Bia (Regenerative Medicine in Japan 2013)
  • Jarrard O' Brian (Embodiment and Trauma among the Maori 2012)
  • Beatriz Aragon (Gypsies and Healthcare in Madrid funded by Max Planck Institute 2011) 
  • Delia Hollowell (Corporative Health Interventions, Mining and Health in Brazil funded by the Wellcome Trust  2013)
  • Anna Wajnarowska (e-health in Poland and UK 2013)

Co-supervisor/second supervisor

  • Jessica Jennings (Alternative Health Providers in Mexico 2013)
  • Caitlin O' Grady (HIV/AIDS in India  2010)
  • Kelly Fagan Robinson(performance and politics of Deaf Worlds 2013 funded by ESRC/AHRC)

Visiting Students

  • Rebecca Fertrin (Menopause and the Clinic in Brazil 2011) Visiting PhD research student from UNICAMP, Brazil 

Completed Students

  • Alison Macdonald (Breast Cancer Survivorship and Activism in India ESRC funded 2012)

Publications

Single authored and co-edited books

2014 forthcoming Gibbon, S. Joseph, G., Mozersky, zur Nieden, A and Palfner, S. (eds) Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA. Genetics and Society Book series. London: Routledge 

2012 Santos, R.V, Gibbon, S. and Beltrao, J. (eds) Identidades Emergentes, Genetica e Saude. Perspectivas antropologicas. Rio de Janeiro, Editora Fiocruz

2011 Gibbon, S., Ventura-Santos, R. and Sans, M. (eds) Racial Identities, Genetic Ancestry and Health in South America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay New York, Palgrave Macmillan

2008 Gibbon, S. and Novas, C (eds) Biosocialities, Identity and the Social Sciences London, Routledge

2007 Gibbon, S. Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge  London, Basingstoke; Palgrave Macmillan

2006 Redclift, N and Gibbon, S Genetics: Critical Concepts in Social and Cultural Theory Major Work Series London: Routledge

Volume 1 - New Genomic Knowledge: the body, health and disease
Volume 2 - Genomic Nature(s): the environment, food and biodiversity
Volume 3 - Genomic Applications: questions of consent, ownership and control
Volume 4 - Genomic States: citizenship, diversity and governance


Single authored journal articles and book chapters

2013 'BRCA genes and the 'pluripotency' of gender' in Year Book of Women's History special focus on Genes and Gender edited by Horstman, K. and Huijer, M. Amsterdam, Hilversum pp 105-119

2013 'Ancestry, temporality and potentiality: engaging cancer genetics in Southern Brazil'. Current Anthropology 54 (7). Special Edition on Anthropology of Potentiality; exploring the productivity of the undefined and its interplay with notions of humaness in new medical practices.

2013 'Science, Sentiment and the State;community genetics and the pursuit of public health in Cuba' in Gibbon, S and Taussig (eds) Special edition of Medical Anthropology Quarterly Public Health Genomics: Anthropological Interventions in the Quest for Molecular Medicine 

2010 ‘Family medicine, ‘La Herencia’ and breast cancer; understanding the continuities and discontinuities of predictive genetics in Cuba’ Social Science and Medicine doi: 10.1016/j.soscimed.2010.09.053

2009 ‘Genomics as public health? Community genetics and the challenge of personalised medicine in Cuba’ in Gibbon, S. & Reynolds Whyte. S. (eds) Anthropology and Medicine Special Issue: Biomedical Technology and Health Inequities in the Global North and South Volume 16 Number 2 pp 131-147

2009 ‘Comment’on ‘Color, Race, Genomic Ancestry in Brazil: Dialogues Between Anthropology and Genetics’ Santos, R.V. et al  in Current Anthropology Vol 50 No 6

2008 'Charity, breast cancer activism and the iconic figure of the BRCA carrier' in Gibbon,S. & Novas,C. (eds) Biosocialities, Identity and the Social Sciences Routledge, London.

2007 'Genealogical Hybridities; the making and unmaking of blood relatives and predictive knowledge in breast cancer genetics' in Edwards, J., Wade, P., Harvey, P. (eds) Anthropology and Science Ways of Knowing; Epistemologies in Practice, Oxford; Berg

2007 ’In Dialogue with Authors’ with Lezaun, J. & Parthasarathy, S. Interview regarding publication of Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge as part of ‘Books Forum’ in Journal of Biosocieties pg 459-464

2006 'Nurturing women and the BRCA Genes' Anthropology and Medicine Vol 13 No 2 August pp 157-171

2005 'Configuring the Moral in Breast Cancer Genetics; the threat and promise of patented genes' in Redclift, N. (ed) Contesting Moralities: Science, Identity, Conflict, London, UCL Press

2002 'Family Trees in clinical breast cancer genetics: re-examining geneticisation' Science as Culture Vol 11 No 4 pp 429-457


Joint and multi- authored articles or book chapters

2014 forthcoming 'Introduction' Gibbon, S. Joseph, G., Mozersky, zur Nieden, A and Palfner, S. (eds) Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA. Genetics and Society Book series. London: Routledge 

2014 forthcoming 'Mapping Jewish Identities: Migratory Histories and the Transnational Re-framing of 'Ashkenazi BRCA Mutations' in the UK and Brazil' in Gibbon, S. Joseph, G., Mozersky, zur Nieden, A and Palfner, S. (eds) Breast Cancer Gene Research and Medical Practices: Transnational Perspectives in the Time of BRCA. Genetics and Society Book series. London: Routledge 

2013 'Introduction' Taussig, K.S. and Gibbon, S. Special edition of Medical Anthropology Quarterly Public Health Genomics: Anthropological Interventions in the Quest for Molecular Medicine 

2012 'Introduction' Santos, R.V., Gibbon, S. and Beltrao, J.  in Santos, R.V., Gibbon, S. and Beltrao (eds) Identidades Emergentes, Genetica e Saude. Perspectivas antropologicas. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Fiocruz

2011 'Introduction' Gibbon,S., Santos,R.V. and Sans, M. in  Gibbon,S., Santos,R.V. and Sans, M. (eds) Racial Identities, Genetic Ancestry and Health in South America. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay. New York; Palgrave Macmillan

2010 ‘Introduction’ Gibbon, S., Joseph, G, Kalender, U. Kampriani, E., Mozersky, J., zur Nieden, A. and Palfner, S. (eds)Special Section: Perspectives on Globalizing Genomics: the case of ‘BRCA’ breast cancer research and medical practice in Journal of Biosocieties 5 407-414 doi:10.1057/biosoc.2010.36

2010 ’BRCA patients in Cuba, Greece and Germany: Comparative perspectives on public health, the state and the partial reproduction of ‘neo-liberal’ subjects’ Gibbon, S., Kampriani, E., and zur Nieden, A. in Special Section: Perspectives on Globalizing Genomics: the case of ‘BRCA’ breast cancer research and medical practice in Journal of Biosocieties 5 440- 466 doi:10.1057/biosoc.2010.28

2010 ‘Undone Science; Charting Social Movement and Civil Society Challenges to Research Agenda Setting’ Frickel, S. Gibbon,S., Howard, J., Kempner, J., Ottinger,G., & Hess, D. Science Technology and Human Values July Vol 35 , 4 pp 444-473

2009 ‘Introduction’ Gibbon, S. & Reynolds Whyte, S. (eds)in Anthropology and Medicine Special Issue: Biomedical Technology and Health Inequities in the Global North and South Volume 16 Number 2 pp 97-105



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