My research focuses on the intersection between information technology and biotechnology. My first book is an historical and ethnographic account of the changes wrought to biological practice and biological knowledge by the introduction of the computer. Especially in highly computerized fields such as genomics, the computer has changed how biologists work, how biologists collaborate, and how biologists make knowledge.
I am currently pursuing two ongoing research projects. The first is an attempt to develop new methods of studying scientific practice by deploying tools from performance studies. In collaboration with a performance studies scholar, I am examining spaces of biomedical work in East Asia in an effort to deepen our understanding of how such spaces fit into the economic, social, and political context of the cities in which they sit. Sites under examination include Biopolis in Singapore and BGI in Shenzhen.
The second project examines the emergence of "big data." This apparently new field is quite suddenly having an immense impact on politics, the economy, and many aspects of our social world. What is really new about big data? What kinds of changes may it bring? Who will benefit? Historians of technology, in particular, are well equipped to ask and answer such important questions about this emerging phenomenon.