series event

Antibiotic science, technology and infrastructures

This panel will focus on Antibiotic science, technology and infrastructures.  The four panellists will provide short description of their research about the ways that science/technologies/infrastructures construct and shape antibiotic use; a summary of how these constructions render particular problems and solutions actionable and what they obscure; and will propose ways to address antibiotic use, given their findings, that might be taken forward in policy, programmes and pilots.

The presentations will be followed by a chaired discussion about implications. 

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Charlotte Brives, University of Bordeaux

Charlotte’s research focuses on the relationship between humans and microbes in the biological and biomedical sciences. After a thesis on the relationship between biologists and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae in a genetics and cell biology laboratory, she worked for 3 years on HIV clinical trials conducted in Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso, and then on how VMMC was constructed as a tool to prevent HIV transmission.

Charlotte started exploring issues around the human microbiota 5 years ago, and in doing so was fortunate enough to get to know bacteriophage viruses (literally: bacteria-eating viruses).

For the past 4 years, she has been happily exploring, alongside committed researchers and physicians, the potentialities of these phages, especially their bactericidal potential which makes them allies of choice in the fight against AMR. Charlotte’s ethnographic fieldwork takes place mainly in France, Switzerland and Belgium.

Komatra Chuengsatiansup, Princess Maha Chakri Siridhorn Anthropology Centre

Komatra Chuengsatiansup is a medical anthropologist, medical doctor and director of the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Center (SAC), a national academic institute working to promote better public understanding of anthropology and to strengthen the anthropological community. 

As the previous director of the Society and Health Institute, his works are instrumental in integrating an anthropological perspective in health policy development and implementation. Komatra has taught extensively on anthropological theory and research methods, community health work, pharmaceutical use and health policy in Thailand and internationally. He has previously worked together with Luechai Sringernyuang on community drug use in Thailand, with a particular focus on antimicrobials.

As co-investigator on the AMIS programme in Thailand, he is leading and overseeing the “following” ethnographic component of the project in Thailand. His research is focusing on the anthropology of knowledge, partly with relation to health care professionals and scientists working with antimicrobials and AMR.

Catherine Will, University of Sussex

Catherine Will is a Reader in the Sociology of Science and Technology (Sociology) at the University of Sussex. Catherine was recently awarded a Wellcome Trust investigator award for work on AMR and inequality in the UK and the US, on the project ‘Marginalisation and the Microbe: How to mobilise around antimicrobial resistance without increasing social inequalities’.

Nik Brown, University of York

Nik Brown is professor in sociology at the University of York working across Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the Sociology of Health and Illness (SHI). He has several decades of research and scholarship experience working first on the regulation and governance of the biosciences. His interest in novel and legally challenging areas of biology was underpinned by funding from the ESRC and EC on bio-risk in the contexts of transpecies transplantation.

Two of his ESRC funded research projects have explored the political and moral economies of stem cell biobanks and umbilical cord blood banking. His most recent areas of interest include the biopolitics of infections and anti-microbial resistance (AMR). This has resulted in a recently awarded AHRC funded project (2018-20) exploring the relationships between hospital architectural design and infection control.

He is also participating in a Global Challenges Research Fund project (GCRF) that seeks to anthropologically explore AMR risk in Sri Lanka. He has published widely on the biopolitics of immunity including a forthcoming monograph (‘Immunitary Life: The biopolitics of Immunity’, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018).      


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