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Microscopic closeup on DNA helix
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Biopolitics of Science Research Network

Bringing researchers together to promote dialogue and collaboration
We explore profound debates on how the biosciences are redefining contemporary society, politics and law.

About us

The social study of science and medicine is a rapidly growing area in Australia and around the world. As the life sciences increasingly play a central role in contemporary societies, debates are emerging on how the biosciences are redefining society, politics, and legalities, including:

  • controversies in the biosciences (stem-cell research, reproductive technologies, organ transplantation)
  • fundamental problems in law (forensic DNA, genetic parenthood, intellectual property)
  • citizenship (immigration, genetic ancestry, disability).

We explore these profound debates in the social study of science. Our aim is to bring researchers together to promote dialogue and collaboration and to give a greater profile to the field.

Drawing of fingers breaking open a medicinal capsule to reveal a double helix

Special event

The value(s) of precision medicine

Masterclass with Professor Barbara Prainsack

Exploring how precision medicine, with its programmatic focus on individual patients, could– perhaps counterintuitively – shed light on the substantive meaning of value in healthcare.

2-5 pm
Wednesday 19 February 2020
CCANESA Boardroom
Madsen Building, Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney

Find out more and register.

Open to all higher-degree researchers and early career researchers. Spaces limited, please RSVP by Feb 7.

For more information, contact: Associate Professor Sonja van Wichelen

Research projects

Promoting dialogue and collaboration

We comprise an impressive group of early career and senior scholars and academics from arts, law, science, medicine and health sciences conducting research into the social aspects of science. Explore our projects here.

Our activities

We run an extensive series of high-profile activities, including:

  • arranging visits from distinguished scholars from other universities in Australia and overseas
  • Lab Talk reading groups, book launches masterclasses and other events
  • encouraging scholarship in the study of science and medicine, both empirically (the study of epigenetics and the human microbiome) and theoretically (discussions on new materialism).

Our events

For a detailed list of upcoming events, please visit the University's What's On Calendar


Dr Sonja van Wichelen
Academic profile