I am a social scientist with expertise in biosecurity. I work at King’s College London, where I am a Reader (Associate Professor) in Science & International Security in the Department of War Studies and in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine. I lead several research projects, including www.GlobalBioLabs.org, www.BioweaponsDisinformationMonitor.com, TheBulletin.org/pathogens-project and BWC Compliance.
I am an Associate Senior Researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in Sweden, and a Non-Resident Scholar at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) in the United States.
I chair the WHO Technical Advisory Group on the responsible use of the life sciences and dual-use research (WHO RULS DUR), and I am a member of the WHO Health Security Interface – Technical Advisory Group (WHO HSI-TAG). I am a rostered expert for the UN Secretary-General’s Mechanism for Investigation of Alleged Use of Chemical or Biological Weapons (UNSGM), and I serve as the NGO Coordinator for the Biological Weapons Convention. I am a member of the UK Biosecurity Leadership Council. I act as an advisor and mentor on the Young Women in Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Mentorship Programme, and I serve as an Advisory Board member at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation (VCDNP) in Austria.
I regularly work with the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF), and the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Consortium.
My research is theoretically driven, empirically informed, policy-relevant and high-profile. Wedding scientific research with current political debate on international security, it focuses on critically examining biological threats, health security, biorisk management and biological arms control. I am particularly interested in the social shaping of risk and the role of experts in the social organisation and deployment of evidence, facts and knowledge. I build on concepts from a range of approaches, including governmentality, science & technology studies, social studies of life sciences, and risk regulation studies; and I draw on a range of methods including participant observation, interviews, documentary analysis, archival research and database searches.
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). In 2012, I joined King’s College London as part of the team establishing the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine. In 2017, I became cross-appointed to King’s Department of War Studies.
I am committed to rigorous and responsible research that contributes to addressing significant social, political and security challenges of developments in the life and health sciences. Responding to these challenges rarely involve simple or reductive answers, and my research embraces multidisciplinary perspectives and collaborative research.