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Professor Barbara Prainsack

Professor Barbara Prainsack

  • Visiting

Visiting Professor of Sociology

Research subject areas

  • Biomedical and life sciences
  • Forensics
  • Medicine
  • Policy
  • Sociology

Contact details


Professor Barbara Prainsack is a political scientist with expertise in the regulatory, social and ethical dimensions of bioscience, biomedicine and forensics. She is based in the Department of Political Science, University of Vienna.

She is currently a member of the National Bioethics Council advising the Federal Government in Vienna, Austria, and a member of the European Group on Ethics and New Technologies, advising the European Commission.

From 2011-2013, she chaired the European Science Foundation’s (ESF) Forward Look on Personalised Medicine for the European Citizen (with Aarno Palotie and Stephen Holgate). She is also an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at St Thomas’ Hospital, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, and an elected Foreign Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters.

Barbara is on the editorial advisory board of several journals, including 'Personalized Medicine'; 'Science as Culture'; 'New Genetics & Society'; 'OMICS'; and 'Genetics Research'. She was an Area Editor for the second edition of the 'International Encyclopedia for Social and Behavioral Sciences', and she was co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health & Society (with Sahra Gibbon, Stephen Hilgartner, and Janelle Lamoreaux; 2018).


In the medical realm, Barbara's current work focuses on personalised medicine and the ‘participatory turn’ in generating, analysing and interpreting data. In the realm of forensics, she is interested in the impact of forensic technologies on attitudes and strategies of prisoners, the societal and regulatory dimensions of forensic bioinformation exchange, and phenotypic DNA profiling.

Barbara also explores how the concept of solidarity can guide policy and practice in both of these domains. 

Further details

See Barbara's research profile