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RESEARCH

I am a philosopher of science, with special interests in the philosophy of biology and in data ethics. I am interested in three topics related to the life sciences:

  1. the sources of scientific controversies;

  2. how scientific concepts are understood by practicing scientists;

  3. the social implications of commodifying scientific research.

As such, my research actively engages with scientific communities, and relies on interdisciplinary collaborations.

 

I am especially interested in how empirical practices can be assessed and evaluated from a philosophical perspective. Correspondingly, I have explored two dimensions of scientific practice: (1) the philosophy of evolutionary developmental biology; and (2) data ethics in relation to genomics.

1

PHILOSOPHY OF EVOLUTIONARY DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY

I am interested in how evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) contributes to the proposal of an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. Specifically, the papers in this project address core notions that inform theoretical biology and provides conceptual clarity by placing them in philosophical focus.

 

Under this research project, the following topics are investigated:

→ Downward causation in biological systems and in specific empirical examples from evo-devo.

→ Reciprocal causation and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis.

→ The origin of evolutionary novelties and the nature of the concept of 'novelty'.

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Museums are my happy place

2

DATA ETHICS AND GENOMICS

The growing importance of genetic science to diagnosing and predicting disease risk has not been accompanied by studies focusing on how genetic data is used or assessing the best ways to deliver results emerging from genetic research. Often, results focus on intrinsic genetic differences – which could lead to genetic reductionism. On the one hand, this is worrisome, as there is a tendency in scientific communication to link complex constructs such as ethnicity and race to genes, leading to the reification of such categories. On the other hand, this worry can be mitigated by evaluating how genetic data is sorted and how humans are clustered into continental origins – a defining feature of genetic studies. The papers I am developing under this project tackle the question of 'ancestry' and how such a complex construct is used in scientific practice.

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