My research focuses on biological threats and on the security and governance of emerging technologies in the life sciences. Much of my work is focused on synthetic biology, often identified as the area of the life sciences most susceptible to misuse, but I also examine other emerging fields like genome editing, potentially pandemic pathogens and neurobiology. My efforts to minimise biological threats involve regular engagement with scientists, governments and the United Nations. King’s recently released a ‘spotlight’ video about my work: “Can we stop the threat of biological weapons?’
Originally trained in human sciences, I switched to sociology for my doctoral work, and spent the first ten years of my career at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the United Kingdom’s leading social science research university with an unrivalled concentration of social, political, legal and economic expertise. In 2012, I joined King’s College London as part of the team establishing the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine, a cutting-edge department carrying out leading research on some of the biggest global health challenges facing the world today. In 2017, I became cross-appointed to King’s Department of War Studies.
My work is theoretically driven, empirically informed and policy-relevant. It draws on a range of methods from participant observation, interviews and documentary analysis, to archival research, database searches and statistical analysis. I am committed to rigorous and responsible research that contributes to addressing the significant social, political and security challenges of developments in the life sciences. Responding to these challenges rarely involve simple, reductive or straightforward answers; and so I embrace interdisciplinary perspectives and learning, as well as collaborative research.