About Dr Maureen O'Malley

My research and supervision interests are philosophy of biology (especially microbiology) and philosophy of science in general.

My current research is focused on developing a philosophical account of microbiology, and on examining philosophically a range of scientific practices in contemporary molecular life sciences, such as systems biology, synthetic biology, and metagenomics. Go to this website for more details: http://www.maureenomalley.org

Some research highlights:

  • A two-year project with numerous scientists, in which we discussed and published on philosophical issues to do with the Tree of Life;
  • Considerable success in bringing microbiology to the attention of philosophers of biology;
  • Close engagement with an international community of systems and synthetic biologists, as we work to develop philosophical insights into these new sciences.

Selected publications

O'Malley MA (2010). The first eukaryote cell: An unfinished history of contestation. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 41(3): 212–224.  

O'Malley MA (2010).
Making knowledge in synthetic biology: Design meets kludge. Biological Theory, 4(4): 378–389.  

Dupré J, and O'Malley MA (2009).
Varieties of living things: Life at the intersection of lineage and metabolism. Philosophy & Theory in Biology, 1.  

Bapteste E, O'Malley MA, Beiko RG, et al. (2009).
Prokaryotic evolution and the tree of life are two different things. Biology Direct, 4(34).  

O'Malley MA, Elliot KC, Haufe C, and Burian RM (2009).
Philosophies of funding. Cell, 138(4): 611–615.  

O'Malley MA (2009).
What did Darwin say about microbes, and how did microbiology respond? Trends in Microbiology, 17(8): 341–347.  

O'Malley MA, Powell A, Davies JF, and Calvert J (2008). Knowledge-making distinctions in synthetic biology. BioEssays, 30(1): 57–65.  

O'Malley MA (2007). The nineteenth-century roots of 'Everything is everywhere'. Nature Reviews Microbiology 5: 647–651.

O'Malley MA, and Dupré J (2007). Size doesn't matter: towards a more inclusive philosophy of biology. Biology and Philosophy, 22(2): 155–191.    

O'Malley MA, and Dupré J (2005).
Fundamental issues in systems biology. BioEssays, 27: 1270–1276.