Professor Bronwyn Parry
Head of the School of Global Affairs
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7848 7176
Bronwyn’s primary research interests lie in investigating how human-environment relations are being re-cast by technological, economic and regulatory change. She has developed expertise in a number of key areas: the rise and operation of the life sciences industry, informationalism, the commodification of life forms, posthumanism, applied bioethics, legal approaches to the regulation of nature, and the public understanding and reception of science.
Her first book Trading the Genome: Investigating the Commodification of Bio-information revealed how biological materials are collected for use in the US pharmaceutical industry and how the engineered artefacts derived from them - cell lines, tissues samples and sequenced DNA - are then traded internationally as part of a new global resource economy in ‘bio-information’.
She subsequently received a major grant from the Wellcome Trust to investigate the social, ethical, and legal complexities that attend the creation and operation of human tissue banks in the UK, completing this work through a three year ethnography of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital Brain bank. As part of her wider commitment to promoting the visual arts as a medium for communicating complex ethical issues in science to a wider public she mounted a ground breaking interactive exhibition Mind Over Matter with the artist Ania Dabrowska in 2011 which explored attitudes to memory loss and brain donation for dementia research.
Bronwyn was elected to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in 2007 and has contributed to reports on the forensic use of bio-information, the recent crisis in public health in the UK and dementia care. She has also undertaken comparative work on the role of international regulatory regimes and acted as a consultant for the UN and the UK government in this capacity. She is about to embark on a new collaborative international bioethics project that investigates the production, consumption and regulation of assisted reproductive services in rural and urban centres within India. She welcomes prospective PhD students interested in research in any of these areas.