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Dr Sahra Gibbon
Anthropology Department
14 Taviton Street
London
Tel: 020 7679 4809
Appointment
  • Reader in Anthropology
  • Dept of Anthropology
  • Faculty of S&HS
Research Themes
Research Summary

For the past ten years my research has focused on examining the social and cultural dimensions of developments in the field of medicine described as ‘breast cancer genetics’. My doctoral research was based in the UK looking at the interface between gendered cultures of breast cancer activism and the translation of knowledge and technologies associated with two inherited susceptibility genes discovered in the 1990s - BRCA 1 and BRCA2. The results of this study, which involved ethnographic research in clinical and non clinical arenas with patients, health professionals and publics, was subsequently published in 2007 by Palgrave Macmillan in the monograph entitled Breast Cancer Genes and the Gendering of Knowledge.

Since then I have continued  research in the area of BRCA genetics and breast cancer exploring the changing and dynamic relationship between 'publics' and 'scientists' in an era of (post)genomic medicine in the comparative cultural context of Cuba and more recently Brazil. My interests here include examining how and with what consequences the transnational fields of genomic medicine are being translated in diverse cultural arenas at the interface with the politics and practice of public health care. More recently I have become interested in how growing interest in genetic ancestry, human genetic variation and health disparities have begun to intersect in the context of cancer genetics. This interest forms the backdrop to a five year collaborative project I am currently undertaking in Brazil as part of a Wellcome Trust University Award examining how ancestry, identity and risk are being configured in the context of an expanding field of cancer genetic research and clinical intervention.

I have long standing interests in inter-disciplinary ways of working, both developing and reflecting on the  opportunities and challenges this way of carrying out research in and on the lifesciences poses for social and natural scientists confronting novel developments in genomics. In recent years I have been involved in co-organising a number of workshops and conferences both in London and more recently in Brazil that have brought together a range of participants to explore these issues further. I remain committed to developing these conversations, to exploring and expanding the scope of cross disciplinary research and teaching.

Academic Background
2003 PhD Doctor of Philosophy – Anthropology University College London
1998 MSc Master of Science – Medical Anthropology University College London
1996 MA Master of Arts – Anthropology University of Edinburgh
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