Seminar with Mie Sest Daam October 19th “When pigs model patients: Balancing standardization and individualization in translational neonatology research”

Mie Sest Daam, PhD student in Medical Anthropology at the University of Copenhagen and visiting scholar at SSHM,  will give informal talk on her work in the field of translational neonatology research on Monday, 19 October, 3-4.30pm, to be held in the East Wing of Somerset House SW1.09.

Abstract

While the rhetoric on translational medicine often highlight “proximity between bench and bedside” and the “translation of data between species”, much less is known about the day-to-day practicesthrough which animals and humans become aligned in translational medicine. This interest in the daily practices of translational animal based medicine guides this paper. Together with Mette N. Svendsen I have explored how the concept of translational research is negotiated and practiced in the field of neonatology in Denmark, where premature piglets act as models for premature human infants. In the draft for the paper that will guide my talk we focus particularly on how researchers in the animal lab balance standardization and individualization in attempts to place the human infant and the research piglet in the proper relation to realize the translational potentials. We have investigated this by following the experimental activities in a newly started biomedical research centre. In this research centre, international partners from the university, the hospital and the industry collaborate to investigate connections between nutrition and gut and brain development in neonates. During our ethnographic fieldwork in the pig laboratory we experienced how the straightforward boundary between the domain of the animal (animal experimentation) and the domain of the human (clinical studies and clinical practice) alluded to in the concept of on translational medicine was continuously challenged and transgressed as well as maintained in the efforts done to make pigs model patients.

Mie will circulate a paper beforehand, but even if you don’t have time to read it, please feel free to come along.  Cake will be served too!

Please drop Mie a line if you plan to attend: mie_seest.dam@kcl.ac.uk

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