Marlene Lorgen-Ritchie is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Rowett Institute. Her research involves investigating the biological pathways linking the social environment during development, with mood and personality in later life.
Here, in the latest of our biosocial blog series, she writes about one aspect of biosocial research – epigenetics – which she’ll be exploring more at a Festival of Social Science event next week.
Our early life experiences in the womb and throughout childhood have been shown to influence how we turn out as adults. This includes how healthy we are, how rich we become and what and how we think. However we still don’t know how it all comes about biologically. That’s where epigenetics comes in. Continue reading
Today marks 20 years since Dolly the Sheep was unveiled to the world by British scientists, at BBSRC’s Roslin Institute – which this month welcomed the appointment of a new director. Here ESRC-funded academic Sarah Franklin, who authored the book Dolly Mixtures, looks at where we currently stand on the ethics surrounding cloning.
A designer sheep
On 22 February 1997 the world woke up to a new phenomenon: a cloned Scottish sheep named Dolly. She became a global superstar: famous because she was a completely normal sheep. Dolly embodied a famously misunderstood scientific technique, namely cloning. Continue reading
Dr Matthias Wienroth is researcher and knowledge broker at the interface of the sociology of science and technology, public and policy engagement, ethics, and governance studies. He is part of the FP7 European Forensic Genetics (EUROFORGEN) Network of Excellence and Research Fellow at Northumbria University; he is also Visiting Researcher at the Policy, Ethics and Life Sciences (PEALS) Research Centre, Newcastle University.
Here, in the latest of our biosocial blog series, he discusses the role of DNA and the research discussed in the ESRC-funded seminar series ‘Genetics, technology, security and justice: Crossing, contesting and comparing boundaries’
DNA evidence is often portrayed as vital to criminal investigations and trials. Just over 30 years ago, in 1984, Alec Jeffreys and his team at Leicester University discovered DNA profiling. In its first application it helped to exonerate one suspect and then build the case for the conviction of another. Today, DNA analysis is often perceived to be the ‘gold standard’ for evidence. Continue reading
In the latest in our series of biosocial blogs, Dr Victoria Leong, an ESRC Transformative Research Grant holder, and Dr Sam Wass, an ESRC Future Research Leader, talk about their research, which takes a new perspective on understanding how babies learn from their parents.
Dr Victoria Leong
Dr Sam Wass
William James, the founding father of psychology, once declared that “Everyone knows what attention is. It is taking possession of the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seems several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought. Focalisation, concentration of consciousness are of its essence. It implies a withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others.”
Since then, the vast majority of researchers have followed his approach of assuming that attention (or concentration, in layman’s terms) is a property of individual minds, to be studied in isolation. Continue reading
David Blane is professor emeritus of Imperial College London and professorial research associate of University College London. Former (2008-2012) deputy director of ESRC International Centre for Life Course Studies in Society and Health (ICLS), his interests include health inequalities, social gerontology and life course research.
Here, in the latest of our biosocial blogs, Professor Blane gives his ‘how to’ on combining sociology and biology in research.
Rudolf Virchow was a physician who believed that “Medicine is a social science; and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale”.
In 1848 he served on a commission of investigation into an epidemic of typhus in Prussian Upper Silesia. His report identified the social conditions there that made typhus (a louse-borne disease) endemic, and periodically epidemic, and wrote a social prescription to eliminate these circumstances by building roads, schools, democracy and jobs. As well as being one of the founders of public health, Virchow was a medical specialist in pathology, which he saw as the way to understand the link between social conditions and disease. Continue reading