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Levin, Nadine Sarah

Grant Type
Post-Ph.D. Research Grant
Insitutional Affiliation
Exeter U.
Completed Grant
Approve Date
Project Title
Levin, Dr. Nadine Sarah, U. of Exeter, Exeter, UK - To aid research on 'What is Metabolism After Big Data? Health, Bodies, and Populations in the Post-genomic Sciences'

DR. NADINE SARAH LEVIN, University of Exeter, Exeter, United Kingdom, was awarded a grant in April 2015 to aid research on 'What is Metabolism After Big Data? Health, Bodies, and Populations in the Post-Genomic Sciences.' This project was an ethnographic exploration of how metabolism is being reconfigured in relation to 'big data,' and how this affects the development of biomedical interventions into health and disease. This project investigated the forms of expertise required to make sense of big metabolic data, as well as the new social configurations that arise to 'translate' metabolic data into clinical practices. Combining medical anthropology and science and technology studies, this project examined how the rise of big data -- which revolves around the use of computers, algorithms, and databases -- not only enables researchers to engage with the meaning of biological life in new ways, but also produces politically charged ways of evaluating, measuring, and intervening into bodies and populations. To do so, this project examined the field of metabolomics -- the post-genomics study of the molecules and processes that make up metabolism -- as a case study for the role and value of big data in biomedicine. Six months of ethnographic research in two US-based metabolomics laboratories, as well as interviews with members of the scientific community were conducted, which resulted in the publication of several articles, and the submission of a book manuscript to a major university press.