CANCELLED – Tim Lewens at the Biological Interest Group

April 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

Unfortunately, the next scheduled BIG meeting on April 25th with Tim Lewens has been cancelled, sorry for the late notice.
The next BIG meeting will take place on May 9th with the visit of Giovanna Colombetti and Tom Roberts (Exeter).

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Susan Kelly at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 21st March, 2-3pm, Byrne House

March 16, 2016 Leave a comment

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 21st of March. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Susan Kelly, from Egenis, discussing her paper “Recontacting in clinical practice: an investigation of the views of healthcare professionals and clinical genetic scientists in the United Kingdom”. Daniele Carrieri, who works with Susan on her project, kindly sent us instructions and descriptions for the two papers they are circulating:

“Dear BIG group,

During the 21st of March BIG meeting Susan Kelly will give an overview of the ‘MAINSTREAMING GENETICS: Recontacting patients in a dynamic healthcare environment’ project.
To help this presentation, and the discussion we are submitting to the BIG group 2 papers (both attached): Paper 1- the main one for you to read, and Paper 2 – the optional one. Both papers should be quite descriptive and simple to read.

Paper 1
This paper is a DRAFT. It is based on interviews conducted with healthcare professionals (HCPs) we haven’t finished all these interviews yet, but, since we have conducted quite a lot already (26/30), we started drafting this paper.
The target journal is Genetics in Medicine – therefore the audience is mainly HCPs , international readership, but mainly from the US.
We would appreciate any comment on the readability and coherence of the paper. In particular any feedback on parts of the text we could cut (given that the draft is currently around 2000 words above the word limit) and/or suggestions for other journals.
We are also aim to write other articles from this data which will be more sociological and ethical. Please do let us know if you find anything in this current draft that feels like a good candidate for a ‘sociological/ethical expansion’.

Paper 2
This paper is published in Genetics in Medicine and is based on a survey of recontacting practices we conducted across genetics centres in the UK. I think this is a very useful reading as it provides more background to Paper 1 and to the whole project ,and it probably explains what ‘recontacting’ is about better than Paper 1.
For even more background information on the research project, please visit: http://ex.ac.uk/mgcc

I have an interview on Monday 21st (with a HCP!). I should hopefully be able to be back before the BIG reading group starts.
Thank you very much in advance, and I look forward to discussing this work with you!”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Flavia Fabris at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 7th March, 2-3pm, Byrne House

March 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 7th of March. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Flavia Fabris, from Sapienza University of Rome. We will be discussing the attached chapter “Canalization and Development: Towards a Process Account of Cryptic Genetic Variability”. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“The text is a draft of what hopefully will be a chapter of the book on Process Philosophy of Biology that Dan Nicholson and John Dupré are editing. The aim of the chapter is (i) to offer a process account of Waddington’s cryptic genetic variability and (ii) to discuss its implication in contemporary developmental canalization models.

The chapter draws attention on the ontological difference between two assumptions that in literature are often conflated in the explanation of cryptic genetic variability: (i) a substance view of cryptic variability as “evolution’s hidden substrate”, i.e. a pre-existent pool of hidden random genetic variation, (ii) and a process view of cryptic variability as regulated by epigenetic processes evolved because of their contribution to ‘encrypt’ and ‘decrypt’ specific developmental answers in relation to stimuli and environmental contexts. With the general aim to asses Waddington’s ontology of phenotypes as processes, the chapter discusses how these interpretations (i) (ii) differently contribute to Waddington’s model of buffering and cripticity in contemporary genetics and molecular biology researches.

I’d like to receive feedback on the clarity of my argument and how the paper could be improved, both from an historical and a philosophical point of view. In particular, I’d like to receive feedback on (i) the relation between Waddington’s DST approach and his process view, and (ii) on how my analysis on cryptic genetic variation could be further strengthened in relation with its distinction with a substance view.”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

 

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Lorenzo Beltrame at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 22th February, 2-3pm, Byrne House

February 17, 2016 Leave a comment

UPDATE : For personal issues, Lorenzo unfortunately had to postpone his presentation at today’s Biological Interest Group to next week, Monday 29th February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm.

Please note another change in the schedule: on Monday 7th March, Flavia Fabris will be presenting instead of Dan Nicholson.

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 22th of February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Lorenzo Beltrame, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached chapter “‘Play it again, Sam’. Taking Polanyi seriously in understanding the social embeddedness of cord blood economies”. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This paper discuss the social embeddedness involved in umbilical cord blood banking, through an analytical framework developed using the work of Karl Polanyi. This paper is my first attempt to introduce theoretical tenets from the economic sociology in the STS study of bioeconomies, a field mainly built on a Foucauldian legacy. In my research on cord blood banking regulations, I would like to adopt a different approach, based on the economic sociology and political economy inspired by the work of Karl Polanyi. That is, how regulations, by shaping institutional arrangements and their functioning (in my case cord blood banks), format the emerging bioeconomies and thus their related societal implications.

While in a second step I will work on a possible dialogue between the two traditions, in this paper I focused only on Polanyi notion of embeddedness and, given some misunderstanding about Polanyi’s thought – related exactly to the notion of embeddedness – this paper deals directly with his work and then tries to apply it to a discussion on cord blood banking. Since this is a first attempt to develop an institutionalist analytical framework for studying the bioeconomy, I think that I may benefit from your comments, suggestions and criticism. In particular, I would like to discuss:

– if, in general, the developed framework is sufficiently tenable and reliable (in particular, does my account of Polanyi’s thought sound robust enough? Should the tension between the institutionalist approach and the relational view of economic sociology better recomposed? Or the two appear too much contrasting?

– if it is applied to the cord blood case without incongruences (again, do the macro-institutionalist approach of Polanyi fit with the analysis of social embeddedness?)

– finally, if, in general, an institutionalist approach could be useful in the study of bioeconomy – of course I think that it is -, but I would like to discuss this point and whether it is the case of, maybe, exploring better its utility by a close examination of some central topics in the literature on bioeconomy or, on the contrary, reinforcing the discussion on embeddedness.”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Catelijne Coopmans & Brian Rappert at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 8th February, 2-3pm, Byrne House

February 3, 2016 Leave a comment

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 8th of February. The meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 2-3pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Catelijne Coopmans and Brian Rappert, respectively from the National University of Singapore and the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached chapter “Accords on the Mind”. The authors kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This is a draft of a chapter (incl. a short preamble) for the book we are writing together. The book is on ‘revelation’ as a social performance of knowledge and knowing. It seeks to relate to ‘revelatory gestures’ by attending to their situated enactment and the paradoxes entailed therein. This chapter, on the neuroscientific study of Buddhist meditation, is envisaged as chapter 5. In preceding chapters we focus on the WikiLeaks releases (ch1), art forgery and ways of detecting it (ch2), and data visualization (ch3), and we synthesize the understandings gained from these cases in a sort of framework (ch4). The chapter after this one, ch6, will deal with claims that the Apollo moon landings never happened. Overall, and unlike some other work in STS, we aim to develop an approach that neither fetishizes revelation nor dismisses it as mere rhetoric or misleading epistemology.

We’re very excited about the chance to discuss this piece with the Biological Interest Group, and keen on hearing any comments, suggestions and feedback you might have! More particularly, it would be great to hear what people think of the two central threads in the chapter: do they make sense? Is it clear how they relate and also differ from one another? Do you have ideas for how we could improve the text in that regard? Another aspect on which we’d love to get feedback is the experience of reading. What came up for you, which parts were able to hold your interest and which parts were not? Where did you get stuck/lost? Did you feel there were too many aspects/dimensions introduced, or too few, etc.?”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Stephan Guttinger at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 25th January, 1:30-2:30pm, Byrne House

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

You are invited to the next meeting of the Biological Interest Group. It will take place this coming Monday 25th of January. Please note that, exceptionally, this meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1:30-2:30pm. Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Stephan Guttinger, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘Towards a process ontology for macromolecular biology ‘. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“The text is a draft of what should (hopefully) become a chapter in the book on process philosophy that Dan and John are editing. The paper explores how the macromolecular level in biology, with its focus on distinct and well-defined objects such as proteins or DNA molecules, relates to the project of developing a general process ontology for biology. Is the macromolecular level a stumbling block for the process philosopher and if so how could it be dealt with? My aim is to show that process philosophers don’t have an ‘enemy’ in macromolecules but a friend. The paper also touches on methodology, i.e. on the question of how to use examples from the biological sciences when thinking about ontology.

I do not have specific aspects on which I would like feedback, I am just generally interested in hearing about how the paper could be improved. If I had to point out two issues it would probably be A) Is my reading/interpretation/use of the different case studies convincing? And B) How could the conclusion (which I think is one of the weakest parts of the paper) be strengthened?”

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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Gail Davies at the Biological Interest Group – Monday 11th January, 1-2pm, Byrne House

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment

Dear all,

Happy New Year 2016 !

You are invited to the first meeting of the Biological Interest Group of this year. It will take place this coming Monday 11th of January. Please note that, exceptionally for this term, this meeting will be held in the seminar room at Byrne House, from 1-2pm (the new time slot for this term being 2-3pm). Participants can bring lunch and drinks if they wish.

Next week we are very pleased to receive the visit of Gail Davies, from the University of Exeter. We will be discussing the attached paper ‘”Increasing in size and diverging in character”: Licensing practices and the global politics of laboratory animal research’. The author kindly provided us with some information about the paper, and how we might help:

“This paper originated in a keynote talk commissioned by the World Congress on Animal Alternatives, on the Globalisation of the 3Rs (replacement, reduction, refinement) in laboratory animal research. The audience there included policy-makers, scientists, regulators and NGOs. The aim of the paper was to try and intervene in arguments between European and American stakeholders about whose approach was best, which seemed to be overtaking other debates, and indicate something of what a social scientist might contribute. The talk seemed to go down well on the day, and stimulated some great follow up conversations.

I’ve decided to write it up now, in part, due to my involvement in development of policy-making in this area in the UK, including advising on the revision of the project licensing process, and in part as I am putting together a special issue on the history and future of the 3Rs for Science, Technology and Human Values. It has been submitted; given the journal, I will expect reviewer’s comments much later. I would really appreciated your input in the meantime. It has been a tricky paper to write. As it has moved audience, I have found it hard to step back from my engagement with the policy process and gauge the level of detail on regulations required, build further theoretical connections and engage readers less committed to this ‘insider issue’.

I would welcome any/all thoughts or comments, but have a few questions too.
– Have I missed a (more interesting) set of literatures on licensing in science? Are there other areas of science which these sort of argument might engage?
– I’ve chosen not to frame this through questions of care, as I, and many others, have written about these issues elsewhere, but I am aware this leaves a very legal/technical view of animal care. I am wondering the extent to which this a problem?
– It is already over length – I am wondering what details can be cut whilst still allowing people to follow the argument.

I look forward to any thoughts from anyone up for reading about the legal complexities of licensing in science as a new year task!”

 

Please contact Thomas Bonnin (tb391 [at] exeter.ac.uk) if you wish to join the group or for any other information.

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