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PhD Students

Tara Mahfoud


Tara Mahfoud is a PhD candidate at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine (GHSM), King’s College London, funded by the King’s Annual Fund Studentship. Her dissertation is an ethnography of brain modelling and simulation in the European Union’s Human Brain Project. Tara joined the Foresight Lab at GHSM in January 2017 as a Research Assistant to explore the social, political and economic context and implications of developments in the neurosciences in Europe. Before starting her PhD, Tara worked for three years as a Program Manager at the American University of Beirut’s Policy Institute. She holds a master’s degree in Social Anthropology from SOAS, University of London and a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from the American University of Beirut.

Contact Tara Mahfoud

Start date at King's College London:

October 2013

Supervised by:

Professor Nikolas Rose (First Supervisor)

Dr Carlo Caduff (Second Supervisor)

Research Interests:

Tara’s research interests include: anthropology of science, technology and computing; science and technology studies; neuroscience; big data; modelling and simulation; Europe.

  • Neuroscience & Society Network Core Member

Graduate Teaching Assistant:


Mahfoud, Tara, Sam McLean and Nikolas Rose (forthcoming, 2017) Vital Models: The Making and Use of Models in the Brain Sciences. Progress in Brain Research, Volume 233. Elsevier.

Mahfoud, Tara and Sam McLean (2015). Towards Neuro-Social Science: The Politics and Pragmatics of Collaboration. Somatosphere (blog),June 10, 2015.

Mahfoud, Tara (2014). Extending the mind: a review of ethnographies of neuroscience practice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8: 359.

Conferences and Workshops:

For model’s sake! Curation, Integration, and Strategic Data Collection in the European Human Brain Project. Paper presentation at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting, 16-20 November 2016.

Blue Seas and Glimmering Stars: Visions of the Human Brain Project. Paper presentation at Research, Reverie & the Wandering Imagination workshop, Division of Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, 6 September 2016.

Spurious Categories: A study of data-model symbiosis in the Human Brain Project. With Christine Aicardi. Paper presentation at the ‘Lives and Deaths of Data’ panel, Society for Social Studies of Science annual conference, 1-3 September 2016.

Belief, Time and ‘Big Neuroscience’: Negotiating what to model in the European Human Brain Project. Paper presentation at the ‘Vital Brains: The Making and Use of Models in Neuroscience’ workshop, Free University of Berlin, 7-8 April 2016.

Putting the Brain Back Together Again: A proposal for an ethnographic study of data integration and simulation in the European Union's Human Brain Project. Invited Presentation at the ‘Biosocial Relations and Hierarchies’ symposium, King’s College London, 16 May 2014.

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