Here are some of the primary research interests that our faculty pursue. To find out more, follow the link for the researcher's name.

Emeritus and Retired Faculty

  • Mark B. Adams

    General history of science, history of biology (genetics, population genetics, Darwin, Darwinism and evolutionary theory, morphology, experimental biology), Russian and Soviet science, institutional history, comparative history of eugenics, nature-nurture controversy, scientific futurism, science and religion, science and literature, science fiction, writing.

  • Ruth Schwartz Cowan

    History of technology, history of genetics, genetics and social policy, history of reproduction, history of medical technology, gender and science, medicine, technology

  • Steven Feierman

     

    History of health and healing in Africa, the content and uses of orally transmitted knowledge, and the place of knowledge about Africa in the social sciences.

  • Robert E. Kohler

    History of field sciences; scientific practices in lab and field

    Current Project: Book manuscript, "Inside Stories: Resident Observing in the Human and Life Sciences"

  • Nathan Sivin

    the social relations of Chinese medicine, from a point of view which combines the conceptual tools of history of science with those of cultural and social anthropology and sociology
    intellectual biography of Shen Kua 沈括 (1031-1095)
    translations of key documents for a source book of Chinese science and medicine
    the theoretical structure of alchemy

Department Faculty

  • Robert A. Aronowitz

    history of 20th century disease, epidemiology, population health

  • David S. Barnes

    history of infectious disease, epidemiology, and public health; the Bacteriological Revolution and its effect on public health; 19th century European (esp. French) social and cultural history; cultural history of bodily knowledge and practices; history of disgust.

  • Etienne Benson

    History of the environmental sciences
    History of environmentalism
    Animal history
    History of technology

  • Stephanie A. Dick

    Mathematics and computing in the postwar United States
    Artificial intelligence and automated reasoning
    Mathematical proof
    Computer memory and digital representation
    Human-machine interaction
    Software Studies
    Science Studies

  • Sebastián Gil-Riaño

    Comparative histories of racial science, anti-racism in science, postcolonial studies of science, histories of modernisation and international development, history of social science, history of nutritional science, Latin American history

  • Harun Küçük

    Science and Translation
    Historiography of Non-Western Science
    Cultural history of early modern science and technology
    Science and philosophy in the Ottoman Empire and the Islamic world
    Science Studies
    Science and religion
    Global history

  • M. Susan Lindee

    Genetics and genomics
    Cold War science
    Warfare and science

  • Beth Linker

    Social and cultural history of U.S. medicine and surgery in the 19th and 20th centuries, disability history, war studies, gender studies, as well as the history of bioethics, sexuality, and health care policy.

  • Ramah McKay

    Critical global health; humanitarianism and development; history and temporality; the anthropology of biomedicine; southern and lusophone Africa

  • Jonathan Moreno

    History of bioethics
    Politics and the life sciences
    Neuroethics
    History and philosophy of social science

  • Projit Bihari Mukharji

    • Colonial Medicine
    • Indigenous Medicines
    • Race Science
    • Genetics
    • Physical Anthropology
    • Science & the Supernatural
    • Forensic Science
    • Nineteenth-Century Chemistry
  • Adelheid Voskuhl

    Heidi Voskuhl's research field comprises the history of technology from the early modern to the modern period. Her broader interests include the philosophy of technology, the history of the Enlightenment, and modern European intellectual and cultural history.

Associated Faculty

  • Babak Ashrafi

    The history of the study of matter and motion in the 19th and 20th centuries, multiple intellectual and institutional transformations that produced the discipline of modern physics.

  • Frances Barg

    Dr. Frances Barg is a medical anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research examines the interface between culture and illness, specifically as it relates to cancer and to mental illness.

  • Kathleen Brown

    women and gender; slavery; masculinity; race; history of the body; health and medicine

  • Carolyn C. Cannuscio

    Health and Social Behavior

  • Cynthia Connolly

    Dr. Connolly's research analyzes the forces that have shaped children's health care delivery and family policy in the United States. Her

  • Zoltan Domotor

    Philosophy of Science
    Applied Logic
    Epistemology
    Cognitive Science

  • Julie A. Fairman

     

    Dr. Fairman's research focuses on the history of 20th century health care issues pervading contemporary nursing practice. Much of her recent work addresses the relationship between gender, nursing and technology (critical care) and the history of the social construction of professional boundaries (the history of the nurse practitioner movement). This research has been utilized by members of Congress and by other policy-making bodies such as the Ministry of Health of New Zealand. She is currently investigating the influence of the nursing profession on health policy and looking at the role of the patient as health policy advocate. Other work examines the post-World War II history of nursing scholarship and disciplinary development. Dr. Fairman serves as the 2009 IOM/AAN/ANF Scholar in Residence and will work with the RWJ/IOM Commission on Investing in the Future of Nursing.

  • Chris Feudtner

    Complex chronic conditions
    Family and parent supports

  • John D. Gearhart

    Dr. Gearhart is a developmental geneticist and his research over the past several decades has been directed at an understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of human embryonic development.  Dr. Gearhart is a leader in the development and use of human reproductive technologies, embryo and germ cell manipulations and in the genetic engineering of cells.  In 1998, Dr. Gearhart and his research team at Johns Hopkins published the first report on the derivation of pluripotent stem cells from germ cells of the human embryo.  These cells have the capacity to form all cell types and tissues present in the human body and are considered a major starting point for the development of a wide variety of cell-based therapies in the new field of regenerative medicine.  His research is focused on the basic science of stem cells, stem cell specialization, and the generation cell-based therapies for a number of diseases and injuries.

  • David Gibson

    What happens, and at the expense of what else? Actions have consequences, and some hinge on the fact that when one thing happens, other things that could have happened at the same time do not. This is true and important at many levels of analysis, including in face-to-face interaction, where simultaneity limitations are especially obvious. He's explored the implications of this through research on the way in which network relations (like friendship) affect conversational turn-taking; research on the consequences of interruption in adversarial interactional settings; research on the effects of conversational exclusion on discursive options (in group discussions); research on the way in which scheduling decisions mediate between networks and diffusion; and research on media coverage and non-coverage of different sorts of news (e.g., foreign, national). Other interests include theory, micro-spatial dynamics, sequence analysis, and the logic of social research.

  • Sarah Hope Kagan

    Dr. Kagan's program of clinical research is centered on human experience and illness, with a focus on symptom experience for older adults particularly those who have cancer. Her second book - forthcoming from Penn Press in 2009 - is entitled Cancer in the Lives of Older Americans: Blessings and Battles. Dr. Kagan commonly examines the experience of cancer for older adults through narrative inquiry using head and neck cancer as a model of cancer in older adults. Her current explorations include a collaborative project to understand embodiment in younger and older individuals who have oral tongue cancer. Dr. Kagan welcomes undergraduate students, in particular, as collaborators in her research.

  • Elizabeth Mackenzie

    After receiving her doctorate from University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Mackenzie conducted research at Penn’s Institute of Aging on cultural competence and health beliefs. For five years, she was a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Geriatric Medicine at Penn’s School of Medicine, where she did innovative research on spirituality and mental health.  Dr. Mackenzie teaches in the Health and Societies Program at the University of Pennsylvania, and is an Associate Fellow of the Center for Public Health Initiatives and an Associate Fellow of the Institute on Aging.  She has held positions as a Penn Writing Fellow, Senior Research Associate at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and Project Director at the Center for Mental Health Policy and Research.  Dr. Mackenzie has presented at numerous national and international conferences, most recently the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (2011), the Bridging the Hearts and Minds of Youth Conference at UCSD Center for Mindfulness (2013) and the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education (2013).  Dr. Mackenzie teaches and publishes in the fields of integrative medicine, psychosocial determinants of health, sustainability studies, and mindfulness-based interventions.

  • David Mandell

    Dr. Mandell’s research focuses on the organization, financing and delivery of services to children with autism, and provides the basis for the development of interventions at the individual, provider and system levels to decrease the age at which children with autism are recognized and enter treatment, and to improve the services and supports available to them and their families. He is the recipient of a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) career development award to understand why the diagnosis of autism is so often delayed, and principal investigator on an NIMH-funded study to examine the relationship between states’ policies and their delivery of health services to children with autism.

  • Jessica Martucci

     

    Jessica Martucci is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine. She is also a research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation at the Center for Oral History. She works on the history and politics of 20th and 21st century gender, disability, health and science, and is the author of Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

  • Adam Mohr

    Medical Anthropology and History, Anthropology of Christianity, African Christianity, Religious-Based Medical Abstinence, Transnational Migration, Ghana and Nigeria, the US, and Sweden

  • Sharrona Pearl

    Culture and Communication studies.
    The study of facial features, known as physiognomy, and their relationship to character traits.
    Visual culture; self-fashioning and visual judgment; science and performance; freak shows through history.

  • Richard Pepino

    His interests include public policy related to environmental health and alternative teaching methods in urban public education.

  • Ian Petrie

    the history of science, technology and development in India and Bangladesh

  • Adriana Petryna

    Cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, social studies of science and technology, globalization, state formation and citizenship, Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union, and the United States.

  • Ralph Rosen

    Greek literature and intellectual history
    Ancient comic and satirical poetic genres
    Ancient medicine

  • Jason Schnittker

    Why are social conditions related to health? We've known for many years that social conditions--including education, income, and race/ethnicity--are related to health. It's not always clear, however, why these relationships exist or persist. I'm interested in understanding why social factors are related to health, and focus, in particular, on psychosocial factors, which includes things like stress, personality, and assorted beliefs and perceptions. I'm also interested in how social and genetic factors work in tandem to produce good or bad health. In all my work, I'm interested in both mental and physical health, as I think both are important for understanding the health of a population. Consistent with this, I've explored mortality, disease, and disability, but also anxiety, depressive symptoms, and happiness.

  • J. Sandford Schwartz

    Assessment of medical technology and medical practices; medical decision making; cost-quality tradeoffs in health care; adoption and diffusion of medical innovation; health economics; health policy

  • Susan B. Sorenson

    The epidemiology and prevention of violence, including the areas of homicide, suicide, sexual assault, child abuse, battering, and firearms; how gender, ethnicity, and nativity are related to risk of violence; global perspectives on gender, work and violence.

  • Mary Summers

    American politics and political thought
    Interest groups, social movements, and public policy
    Politics of food, agriculture, the environment, health, labor, race, education, social welfare and service learning

  • Janet Tighe

    American medical profession's negotiations for social and cultural authority, with a special interest in medical-legal interactions
    Development of medical education and training programs in the twentieth century
    Social history of mental illness, particularly the development of forensic psychiatry in the United States
    Traditions of public health provision in the United States
    Policing and accreditation mechanisms for American healers

  • Ben Wiggins

     

    History of science, risk, race

  • Kenneth S. Zaret

    Dr. Zaret’s laboratory discovered special gene regulatory proteins called “pioneer factors” that are among the first to bind genes in embryonic development; pioneer factors loosen the local chromosomal structure and allow genes to be activated.  His laboratory also identified a dynamic signaling network that extends from the external cell environment to the genome and induces liver and pancreas tissues in the embryo.  Information from these studies is being used by diverse groups to generate new liver cells and pancreatic beta cells from stem cells.  Recent studies from Dr. Zaret’s laboratory have unveiled molecular barriers that can be overcome to help convert one type of cell into another.  His laboratory has also used stem cell technology to develop a new experimental model for human pancreatic cancer.