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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 UCL, UK 2003
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow UCL
  ESRC 2003-2004
  Wellcome Trust 2004-2007
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow 2008-2012
Current: Associate Professor in Medical Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Genomic knowledges/technologies and public health in comparative cultural arenas (in the UK and Latin America)
  • Gender, kinship, breast cancer 'BRCA' genetics and communities of health activism
  • Cross/Interdisciplinary 'biosocial' approaches to examining and intervening on health inequalities

My doctoral research focused on examining the social and cultural dimensions of developments in the field of medicine described as 'breast cancer genetics'. Based in the UK, this work looked 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, were subsequently published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan in the monograph entitled Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge.

I have continued research in the area of BRCA genetics and cancer genetics more broadly 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. This work has also explored how a growing interest in genetic ancestry, human genetic variation and health disparities have begun to intersect in the context of cancer genetics. This research informs recent publications and is the basis for a  forthcoming monograph. I am currently continuing research in this field as part of a collaborative initiative with Brazilian colleagues looking at how a focus on rare genetic disease in Brazil has emerged at the interface with the partial integration of genomics into public health and judicial claims to medical treatments and services. As a result of long standing research in Brazil I am committed to engaging with diverse  traditions of medical anthropology in Latin America. 

I also continue to value and critically engage with inter-disciplinary ways of working. This includes developing and reflecting on the opportunities and challenges of carrying out research on/in and with the life and medical sciences. I am keen to develop these conversations, to explore and expand the scope of cross disciplinary research and teaching, particularly in relation to novel articulations of the 'biosocial' in addressing and intervening on health inequalities. This includes co-convening a new Masters programme in Biosocial Medical Anthropology at UCL that is scheduled to begin in Autumn 2018.

Present and Previous Teaching

I teach a range of courses in the Medical Anthropology section at UCL. This includes co-teaching with colleagues core courses in Medical Anthropology for undergraduate and masters students and acting as convenor for the new masters programme in Biosocial Medical Anthropology. I also convene undergraduate and graduate option modules on Anthropologies of Science, Society and Biomedicine (ANTH0066) and a masters module on Health, Environment and Biosocial Anthropology(ANTH0100)

PhD Students

First supervisor

  • Jarrard O' Brian (Embodiment and Trauma among the Maori 2012)
  • Delia Hollowell (Constructions of Health and Corporative Health Interventions in Communities Living with Industry in Brazil- Wellcome Trust  2013)
  • Lucy Irvine (Civil Society Participation and Sexual Health Policy in Brazil-Wellcome Trust funded 2014)
  • Katrina Holland (Medical Detection Dogs 2015- ESRC funded)
  • Rebecca Irons (Peru, Family Planning Programme and Indigenous Subjectivities -Wellcome Trust Funded 2016)
  • Emilie Glazer (Water, Environmental Justice, Resilience in Mexico City-Wellcome Trust Funded 2017)
  • Rebecca Williams 2017 (The Limits of Care. Border implementation at the end of life-ESRC funded)

Completed Students

  • Maria Ignacia Arteaga Perez (Colorectal Cancer and Care funded by BECAS, Chile) 2018
  • Jesse Bia (Regenerative Medicine in Japan) 2018
  • Kelly Fagan Robinson (Performance and Politics of Deaf Worlds funded by ESRC/AHRC) 2017
  • Beatriz Aragon (Roma Gypsies and Healthcare in Madrid, funded by Max Planck Institute) 2017
  • Caitlin O'Grady (HIV/AIDS in India) 2017
  • Alison Macdonald (Breast Cancer Survivorship and Activism in India ESRC funded) 2012

Visiting Students/Post Docs

  • Thiago Novaes Visiting Post Doc 2018 (Assisted Reproduction, Gene Editing) University of Brasilia, Brazil
  • Rebecca Fertrin PhD student  2011 (Menopause and the Clinic in Brazil 2011) UNICAMP, Brazil

Publications

Single authored and co-edited books

2018 Gibbon, S., Prainsack, B., Hilgartner, S. and Lamoreaux, J. (eds). Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society. Fully Revised 2nd Edition. London: Routledge Major Works Series.

2014 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, Genetics and the Social Sciences. Making Biologies and IdentitiesLondon, Routledge

2007 Gibbon, S. Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge. Science and Citizenship in the Cultural Context of the New Genetics.  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

Journal Special Editions (as co-editor)

2018 Gibbon, S., Kilshaw, S and Sleeboom-Faulkner, M.(eds). Genomics and Genetic Medicine: Pathways to Global Health? Special Issue of Anthropology and Medicine 25 (1)

2015 Guilherme do Valle, C. and Gibbon, S. Health/Illness, Biosocialities and Culture. Special Issue of Vibrant. Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

2015 Sequeiros, J., Gibbon, S and Clarke, A. Genetics and Ethics in Latin America. Special Edition Journal of Community Genetics. DOI 10.0007/s12687-015-0241-5

2013 Taussig, K.S. and Gibbon, S. Public Health Genomics. Anthropological Interventions in the Quest for Molecular Medicine. Special edition of Medical Anthropology Quarterly 27 (4) 

2010 Gibbon, S., Joseph, G, Kalender, U. Kampriani, E., Mozersky, J., zur Nieden, A. and Palfner, S.  Perspectives on Globalizing Genomics: the case of 'BRCA' breast cancer research and medical practice Special Section of Journal of Biosocieties 5

2009 Gibbon, S. & Reynolds Whyte. S.Biomedical Technology and Health Inequities in the Global North and South. Special Edition of Anthropology and Medicine Volume 16 Number 2 pp 131-147

Journal articles and book chapters

2018 Gibbon, S. Calibrating cancer risk, uncertainty and environments: Genetics and their contexts in southern Brazil. BioSocieties https://doi.org/10.1057/s41292-017-0095-7

2018 Gibbon, S. and Aureliano, W. Inclusion and Exclusion in the Globalisation of Genomics. The case of rare genetic disease in Brazil. Anthropology and Medicine 25 (1):11-29

2018 Fullwiley, D. and Gibbon, S. Genomics in Emerging and Developing Economies. In Gibbon.S. et al. Routledge Handbook of Genomics , Health and Society.

2017 Gibbon, SEntangled Local Biologies; genetic risk, bodies and inequities in Brazilian cancer genetics. Anthropology and Medicine Vol 24 (2): 174-188. As part of Special Issue on Diverse Bodies edited by Simon Cohn and Rebecca Lynch

2017 Cossu, G., Birchall, M., Brown, T. et al. Lancet Commission: Stem Cells and regenerative medicine. The Lancet. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736 (17)31366-1

2017 Gibbon, S. Geneticisation. In Callan, H. International Encyclopaedia of Anthropology. Oxford. Wiley-Blackwell.

2017 Rahman, B., Side, L., Gibbon, S. et al. Moving towards population based genetic risk prediction for ovarian cancer. British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology BJOG  124: 855-858

2016 Gibbon, S.Translating genomics: cancer genetics, public health and the making of the (de)molecularised body in Cuba and Brazil. Special Issue on 'The biomedicalisation of Brazilian bodies: anthropological perspectives'  in Historia, Ciencias, Saude Manguinhos Vol 23 (1): 95-113

2016 Gibbon, S. Translating Population Difference:The Use and Re-Use of Genetic Ancestry in Brazilian Cancer Genetics Medical Anthropology 35 (1):58-72

2015 Goldim, J.R. and Gibbon, S. Between personal and relational privacy: understanding the work of informed consent in cancer genetics in Brazil. Journal of Community Genetics 

2015 Sequeiros, J., Gibbon, S. and Clarke, A. 'Introduction' Genetics and Ethics in Latin America. Journal of Community Genetics DOI 10.0007/s12687-015-0241-5

2015 Guilherme do Valle, C. and Gibbon, S. Introduction. Health/Illness, Biosocialities and Culture. Vibrant. Virtual Brazilian Anthropology

2015 Gibbon, S. 'Anticipating Prevention; constituting clinical need, rights and resources in Brazilian Cancer Genetics. In Mathews, H.F., Burke, N., Kampariani, E. (eds) Anthropologies of Cancer in Transnational Worlds. New York: Routledge 

2015 Ventura-Santos, R., Silva, G. and Gibbon,S.  Pharmacogenomics, human genetic diversity and the incorporation and rejection of colour/race in Brazil.Biosocieties 21 1-22

2014 Ruiz-Linares, A. et al. 'Admixture in Latin America: geographic structure, phentypic diversity and self perception of ancestry based on 7,342 individualsPLOS Genetics 10(9) 

2014 Gibbon, S. Invited Comment on 'Nation and the Absent Presence of Race in Latin America Genomics' by Wade, P. et al. Current Anthropology Vol 55 (5)

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

2014 Mozersky, J. and Gibbon, S. '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 Gibbon, S. '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 'Gibbon, S. '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 Gibbon, S. '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  27 (4) 531-549

2013 'Introduction. Public Health Genomics: Anthropological Interventions in the Quest for Molecular Medicine' Taussig, K.S. and Gibbon, S. Special edition of Medical Anthropology Quarterly 27 (4) 471-488

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 'Family medicine, 'La Herencia' and breast cancer; understanding the continuities and discontinuities of predictive genetics in Cuba' Social Science and Medicine, 72 (11) 1784-1792

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. Special Section: Perspectives on Globalizing Genomics: the case of 'BRCA' breast cancer research and medical practice' Gibbon, S., Joseph, G, Kalender, U. Kampriani, E., Mozersky, J., zur Nieden, A. and Palfner, S. (eds) inJournal of Biosocieties 5 407-414 

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 

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

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 Invited 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 'Re-examining Geneticization: Family Trees in clinical breast cancer genetics' Science as Culture Vol 11 No 4 pp 429-457