I am a PhD candidate in the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at University College London, working on practices of care and medical decision-making among patients, families and practitioners. My dissertation is an ethnography of care and treatment for people living with brain tumours. Brain tumour communities are undergoing radical change with the recent introduction of molecular biomarkers to diagnosis. These markers hold much promise for those affected given their affordance of more precise diagnostic, prognostic and predictive information and in invigorating a research agenda based around tailored treatments. Yet their introduction remains contested within clinical communities, sometimes complicating diagnosis and decision-making and giving rise to new dilemmas for patients and their families. By studying this moment ethnographically, I explore how patients, families and a range of practitioners in the UK navigate complex treatment decisions amid an unpredictable disease and shifting terrain of care. I draw attention to how communities manage uncertainty, how patients and families understand and weigh information, how they approach standard care and experimental treatments at different points of their disease, and how the particular features of brain tumours intervene in people's lives. I am funded by a UCL IMPACT studentship and a Yale UCL collaborative exchange programme scholarship.
Research interests: brain tumours; chronic disease; oncology; end of life and palliative care; medical knowledge(s); diagnosis; medical decision-making; patient and public engagement; ethnography; science and technology studies; UK