Our research unit in the Department of Pediatrics (Infectious Disease) at Dalhousie University uses a science and technology studies conceptual framework and multi-sited ethnographic methodological approaches to understand how biological and cultural facts emerge. Science studies allows us to treat data, information, concepts, disease, diagnosis, measurement instruments, regulation, technological and risk assessment, and profits as “actors” engaged in diverse practices and “entangled in a web of relations and connections”.

We apply a variety of interdisciplinary approaches including actor network theory to local and globally-situated case-studies where we can track the relationships of human and non-human entities in the regulation of emerging therapeutic and food products, such as GMOs, pharmaceuticals, biologics, and vaccines. The fieldwork sites for our research include clinical trials, expert committees, scientists and policy analysts and makers at Health Canada, the norms and standardization committees of the World Health Organization, agric-biotech laboratories in Canada and the developing world, and patient activist groups negotiating pharmaceutical industry funding.

Janice Graham contributes a medical anthropological approach that incorporates epidemiological critical appraisal methodologies to understanding the fashioning of diagnostic criteria for cognitive impairment and the dementias, especially as therapies that have emerged to treat dementia.

Our multi-sited ethnographic projects are situated in laboratories (public and private, developed and developing countries), in biotechnology and pharmaceutical corporate offices, and in government regulatory agencies. Our Research Team invites disciplinary diversity and includes anthropologists and sociologists of medicine, science and technology, molecular biologists, political scientists; bioethicists, lawyers and historians of risk and regulation.