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

Associated Faculty

  • Charlotte A. Abney Salomon

    History of chemistry, mineralogy, and geology; Discovery and invention; Early modern science


  • 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.

  • 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
    Cognitive Science

  • David E. Dunning

    History of computing, history of mathematics, gender and science, language and writing in scientific practice

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Adam Mohr

    Medical Anthropology and History, African Christianity, Medical Hesitancy, Colonial West African Physicians, Global Health, Transnational Migration, Ghana, Nigeria, Jamaica, the US 


  • Rebecca Mueller

    History of Genetics, Disability, Ethical, Legal, Social Implications of Genetics and Genomics

  • 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.

  • Jesse Smith

    History of technology, environmental history, public history

  • 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

  • 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.

Emeritus and Retired Faculty & Staff

  • 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.

  • Ann Norton Greene

    Envirotechnical history: Animals, energy, Infrastructures.

  • 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

  • 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

Department Faculty

  • Robert A. Aronowitz

    history of 20th century disease, epidemiology, population health

  • David S. Barnes

    • history of public health
    • history of infectious diseases, epidemics, and quarantine
    • urban history
    • nineteenth-century Europe
    • public history
  • Sebastián Gil-Riaño

    Global histories of race science, anti-racism in science, postcolonial studies of science, indigeneity and science, history of international development, history of the human sciences, history of food and nutrition, Latin American history

  • Zehra Hashmi

    Digital infrastructures, biometrics, documentary technology, kinship, surveillance, colonial and postcolonial governance, ethnicity, and migration.

    My research looks at how the individual became identifiable and the technological history of this process in South Asia. My first book project is a historical ethnography of Pakistan’s national identity database. I study how this information infrastructure came to use data as a kin-making substance that redefines who counts as kin and, by extension, who counts as citizen. I argue that this reliance on kinship and genealogy reconfigures how we can understand modern identification both in South Asia and beyond. 

    With an interdisciplinary training in Anthropology, History, and Science and Technology Studies, I draw on multiple methodologies to unsettle disciplinary boundaries. I follow how historical practices of identification congealed into technological objects such as the identity card and the identity database. I examine how seemingly separate domains, such as the family and the state, leak into one another over time. My work incorporates the practice of moving between ethnography and archives to trace the longstanding interconnections between individual identity, kinship, and informational technologies of the postcolonial state. 

    My interest in identification and surveillance has led me to begin new research on tracking technologies in the domain of public health. My next project aims to bring together a history of public health surveillance in Pakistan with an ethnographic focus on the nascent Integrated Disease Surveillance System (IDSR). This project sits at the intersection of health bureaucracy, information systems, epidemiology, and the intertwined politics of empire and global health.

  • John Kanbayashi

    Envirotech, colonial science, infrastructure, conservation, environmental history, disasters, climate, modern East Asia, Japan, Taiwan, Japanese diaspora

  • Harun Küçük

    Sociology of science 

    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 global health; place and health; care giving and carework; ethnographic writing; critical and decolonial research methods

  • Jonathan D. Moreno

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

  • Projit Bihari Mukharji

    • Race Science
    • Genetics
    • Disease Ecologies
    • Physical Anthropology
    • Science & the Supernatural
    • Forensic Science
    • Nineteenth-Century Chemistry
    • Colonial & Indigenous Medicines
  • Elly R. Truitt

    My current projects explore temporality and periodization, and the role of Christian theology in the historiography of science. My second book, Marvelous Inventions: Roger Bacon, the Middle Ages, and the Making of Modern Science examines all of these through the work of thirteenth-century philosopher Roger Bacon. The adoption of Arabic texts and ideas by Bacon helped configure his reputation in the early modern period as an experimental and technological visionary, revealing the ways in which invention and circulation inflect one another. A different project, on the mechanical clock and the codex, also takes up questions of technology and periodization, arguing that both need to be understood as chrono-technologies that were also central to the production and transmission of narratives of Christian universality. Finally, I am also working on my third book, about courtly science in the medieval world. Different courts (Latin Christian, Byzantine, Islamicate) between 750-1300 appear as case studies to identify how science was fostered and practiced at secular and religious courts, and the extent to which the natural knowledge pursued at courts—such as engineering, navigation, alchemy, and divination—was valued alongside text-based natural philosophical frameworks.

  • Beans Velocci

    Queer and feminist science and technology studies; history of sex, gender, and sexuality; trans history; history of race science and eugenics; classification; uncertainty; life sciences; 19th and 20th century United States

  • 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.

Teaching Faculty

  • Andi Johnson

    the anthropology and history of exercise physiology
    epistemologies of human sciences
    lab-field relationships
    postcolonial science and technology studies
    the politics of the body


  • Amy S.F. Lutz

    History of autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities; public policy and vulnerable populations; history of psychiatry; bioethics