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Professor Barbara Prainsack


Barbara Prainsack is a political scientist with expertise in the regulatory, social, and ethical dimensions of bioscience, biomedicine, and forensics. In the medical realm, her 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. 

Barbara has published over 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and edited and (co-)authored several books. Her most recent books include: Solidarity in Biomedicine and Beyond (with Alena Buyx, Cambridge University Press, 2017); Tracing Technologies: Prisoners’ Views in the Era of CSI (with Helena Machado, Routledge, 2012), and Das Solidaritätsprinzip (‘The solidarity principle’, with Alena Buyx, Campus 2016; in German). An edited volume on Investigating Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Theory and Practice Across Disciplines (with Scott Frickel and Mathieu Albert, Rutgers University Press) was published in 2016, and her new monograph on Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21st Century? will be published by New York University Press in Autumn 2017.

Barbara is currently a member of the National Bioethics Council advising the Federal government in Vienna, Austria, and a member of the UK National DNA Database Ethics Group, and 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 MedicineScience as CultureNew Genetics & SocietyOMICS, and Genetics Research. She was an Area Editor for the second edition of the International Encyclopedia for Social and Behavioral Sciences(Elsevier, 2015), covering 400 entries in the fields of Evolutionary Sciences; Genetics, Behavior and Society; Religious Studies; Law; and Science and Technology Studies (STS), and she is co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health & Society (with Sahra Gibbon, Stephen Hilgartner, and Janelle Lamoreaux; publication scheduled for early 20


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