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Plasticity and Possibility in Regenerative Biology: Model Organisms and New Human Biologies

Wanderer, Emily (2020) Plasticity and Possibility in Regenerative Biology: Model Organisms and New Human Biologies. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Unpublished)

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"Scientists studying developmental and regenerative biology are exploring new possibilities for the plasticity of human biology. These fields are producing knowledge about organismal development, growth, and regeneration in order to transform these processes, and to make it possible for humans to repair or regrow tissues, organs, and limbs. Scientists in these fields also suggest that it might be possible to slow or even reverse the damage of aging. This project examines the production and use of this knowledge from an anthropological perspective. While most anthropological writing about regenerative biology has focused on controversies around the use of human stem cells, this project addresses the use of non-human organisms, using ethnographic research and participant observation in laboratories, biotech start-ups, and clinics to examine the new connections across species being developed in regenerative biology, asking how the work of these scientists has consequences for our understanding of both human and nonhuman life forms.
The promise of regenerative biology has become particularly compelling in the Anthropocene, the moment in which human activities have begun reshaping geological processes. This project will provide an understanding of the key issues this field presents for both environmental conservation and human social life. As global environmental crises including rising extinction rates demonstrate the limits of biological flexibility, regenerative biology appears to offer a technological fix and an alternative future for some. How do the cultural, political, and economic contexts of regenerative biology shape how scientists imagine what life could or should be? And, as scientists remake biology in the lab, how are these ideas being built into biological substances?"


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wanderer, Emilyemily.wanderer@pitt.eduemw1000000-0001-5267-8831
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2020
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/7znc-dj89
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Anthropology
Refereed: No
Other ID: 3460
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 16:30
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2023 19:22


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