UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies


Sozudogru, Erman

Mr Sozudogru is STS Teaching Fellow in Philosophy of Science.


My research is on epistemological questions in philosophy of scientific practices. My interest is on epistemic pluralism, focusing on how knowledge is produced by different approaches in life sciences. In particular, I focus on scientific practices aiming to eradicate (or eliminate) Neglected Tropical Diseases such as African Sleeping Sickness.

Past education

  • MSc Science, Technology, Medicine and Society - London Centre for History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Imperial College London (2012-2013)
  • BSc (Hons): Biological Chemistry and Drug Discovery - College of Life Sciences, University of Dundee (2007-2012)

Past research experience

  • Internship (2010-2011) at Merck KGaA, Medicinal Chemistry Department in Darmstadt, Germany.
  • Summer placement at Nucleic Acids Research Group, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, UK
  • Summer Placement at Thalassaemia Laboratory Dr Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital, Nicosia, Cyprus


Recorded 'Challenging Neglect' podcast with Samantha Vanderslott. Challenging Neglect is a podcast series exploring neglected tropical diseases from different perspectives. There has been an increasing interest in these diseases – endemic in the poorest regions of the world – in various fields. The purpose of this podcast is to take a step further in the discourse. In addition to podcasts, we organised two workshops with panels of experts furthering the discussion on Neglected Tropical Diseases. For more information http://challengingneglect.com

PhD Research

In my thesis I argue that aims of scientific practices are directly connected to socio-economic and political context of the diseases. Therefore our philosophical interpretation of these practices must include how context influences aims and values guiding scientific practice.

My Phd is partly funded by European Commission, European Commission, ELARG Scholarships for the Turkish Cypriot Community Programme.

Pharmaceutical research on neglected tropical diseases presents an interesting case study, which allows us to understand the pluralism in current scientific practices in their social and historical context. Drug discovery and development processes involve multiple systems of practices, each contributing towards the aim that is defined by the over aching normative values. I argue that, these overarching values are formulation of more local values contained within each system working together towards the aim, which is to develop therapies for these diseases.

Herein, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) research is taken as an example, focusing on Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) research. NTDs are a group of infections that are under-researched by the pharmaceutical industry due to their low profit potential. HAT is a parasitic infection that is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa effecting extreme poor in rural areas. HAT research takes place in public-private-partnership (PPP), which is a global network containing academia, industry, governmental and nongovernmental organisations etc., each contributing specific expertise to develop new drugs.

HAT research is an exemplary case study where several systems of practices interact in order to investigate different aspects of the phenomenon - for instance, medicinal chemists’ work is informed by the work of structural biologists which is informed by the work of molecular biologists. Plurality in practices in this case is essential since none of these systems are capable of finding a desired cure for HAT alone. Moreover HAT research allows us to further the normative aspect of pluralism by allowing to demonstrate benefit of pluralism based on the aim of research. The aim is to find an adequate cure to eradicate HAT, which is shaped by epistemic values (linked to furthering knowledge, understanding and explaining the phenomena) and non-epistemic values (linked to the broader social and historical context). PPPs undertaking HAT research determines the overall normative values that guide process allowing us to underline how non epistemic values linked to socio-economic conditions in disease endemic regions or values linked to economic interest plays a significant role in shaping the overarching values, therefore influences the scientific practice.


  • Richard Ward, Andrew Bowman, Erman Sozudogru, Hassane El-Mkami, Tom Owen-Hughes, David G. Norman.EPR distance measurements in deuterated proteins.Journal of Magnetic Resonance, Volume 207, Issue 1, November 2010, Pages 164-167