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Dr Marissa Mika

At UCL, Marissa Mika works with the research group on critical histories of chronic disease in Africa. Focusing on South Africa, she researches chronicity, co-morbidity, and the synergy between infectious and noncommunicable disease burdens. She emphasises the material practices of making knowledge about morbidity and mortality - from the diagnostic pathology lab, to the autopsy table, to the home testing kit, to the courtroom.

Marissa's research over the past decade has focused on the politics, practices and contradictions of Africanising biomedical research in eastern Africa. Her book in progress, “Research is Our Resource”: Experiments and Politics at an African Cancer Institute, tells the story of how the Uganda Cancer Institute transformed from a small experimental research facility into the key site of public oncology goods in the Great Lakes region. She is currently collaborating with photographer Andrea Stultiens on a historical and contemporary photo book on the Institute as part of its 50-year anniversary celebrations. In addition to new work in South Africa, she is in the early stages of a project on the technologies of medical waste. 'Where There is No Incinerator' examines the thin line between disposability and reuse in health work in sub-Saharan Africa.

Marissa holds a PhD (2015) in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania and an MHS (2007) in International Health from Johns Hopkins. Before teaching and studying African history, she worked in international development and public health. Since 2002, she has lived for extended periods of time in South Africa, Togo and Uganda. Her research has been supported by a variety of institutions including the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Read more about the Chronic Disease in Sub-Saharan Africa project here: http://www.chronicdiseaseafrica.org/.