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Sociology Research


My research focuses the relationship between bioscientific, biotechnological and societal change with an emphasis on reproduction and the body. My PhD dissertation (University of Cambridge, 2017) explored how laboratory scientists in Scotland and the United States respond to the translational medicine paradigm in the biosciences and specifically focused on the relationship between science, technology and society through an ethnographic analysis of a scientific model called “the stem cell niche”. My research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

Currently, I am also developing a new research project on the role of emergent biotechnologies in placenta research and the ways they are linked to notions of applied reproductive science in public health. This project is part of my role as Work Package Coordinator in the Wellcome Trust-funded Changing In/Fertilities Project.

My book manuscript in progress, Making Organicist Biotechnology: Plasticity, Application & Collaboration, builds on the dissertation to examine how epigenetic, microbiome and postgenomic understandings of biology are involved in current reconceptualisations of biotechnology and applied science. Informed by ethnography and data collected in interdisciplinary collaborative projects, the book traces the circular relationships between scientific knowledge, biotechnological application and societal expectation.

Research Interests

Assisted Reproductive Technologies; Stem Cell Research; Post-Genomic Biologies; Scientific Knowledge Production; Applied Science; Societal Use of Scientific Knowledge

Research Projects

Translational In/Fertilities: Ethnographic research project exploring the role of basic scientific findings in the making of new reproductive technologies, headed by Karen Jent and Noémie Merleau-Ponty as part of the "Changing In/Fertilities Project".

Dish Life Game (forthcoming in 2020): A digital mobile game offering an immersive experience of sociality and social justice in the stem cell laboratory.

Dish Life Film (2016): Award-winning documentary short film about the role of care in bioscientific research.

Biocircularities: A research collaboration which explores the experience of new biological temporalities and life-times in the context of contemporary biotechnology across the globe from social scientific perspectives.

Life in Translation: Pilot study about bioscientists' experience of the translational science paradigm.


I am an undergraduate supervisor for the Sociology of Gender and Advanced Social Theory papers, supervising on gender, science, medicine, technology, body, nature and feminist theory.

Key Publications - Books

Jent, K., Forthcoming, Making Stem Cell Niches: An Ethnography of Plasticity.

Key Publications - Other

Jent, K. 2019. "Stem Cell Niches" in: Fieldsights – Theorizing the Contemporary. Published online by the Society for Cultural Anthropology (April 25).

Jent, K. 2018. "Dish Lives," published on ReproSoc Blog (March 2).

Jent, K. 2016. "Unfolding Organogenesis," published on ReproSoc Blog (May 5).

Jent, K. 2016. "Reproducing the Magic: Uncertain Science and Reason+," published on (April 26).

Jent, K. 2015. "Malignant – How Cancer Becomes Us," in: Medicine Anthropology Theory 2 (1), pp. 182-85.

Media Articles

Research Groups & Affiliations


Economic and Social Research Council, Impact Acceleration Grant, 2018.

Wenner-Gren Foundation, Dissertation Fieldwork Grant, 2014.

Wellcome Trust, Medical Humanities Doctoral Scholarship "“Through A Looking Glass: A Sociology of UK IVF in the Late-Twentieth Century,” PI Sarah Franklin, 2013.

Dish Life Film has won awards at 2017 Bristol Science Film Festival, 2016 Raw Science Film Festival, Los Angeles, and 2017 Social Machinery Film Festival, Toronto/Rizziconi and has been in the official selection of 12 international film festivals.

Job Title:
Research Associate
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