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Dr Karen Jent

Dr Karen Jent

Research Associate

Gender, science, medicine, technology, body, nature and feminist theory


My research focuses the relationship between bioscientific, biotechnological and societal change with an emphasis on reproduction and the body. My PhD dissertation (University of Cambridge, 2017) explored how laboratory scientists in Scotland and the United States respond to the translational medicine paradigm in the biosciences and specifically focused on the relationship between science, technology and society through an ethnographic analysis of a scientific model called “the stem cell niche”. My research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

My book manuscript in progress, Making Stem Cell Niches: An Ethnography of Plasticity and Biotechnological Control, builds on the dissertation to examine how epigenetic, microbiome and postgenomic understandings of biology are becoming increasingly influential in stem cell science. Focused on laboratory scientists’ perspectives and on data collected in interdisciplinary collaborative projects, the book traces the complex circular relationships between scientific knowledge, its biotechnological application and societal norms in the post-truth moment.

Currently, I develop a new research project on post-genomic relational biologies, which explores placenta research and the ways the placenta is considered as a relational tissue between mother and foetus in the reproductive sciences, and between science and policy in contemporary discussions about embryo research in the United Kingdom.

At ReproSoc, I am the work package coordinator for Translational In/Fertilities of the Wellcome Trust-funded Changing In/Fertilities Project. I am also the chief executive producer for Dish Life: The Game, an interdisciplinary educational mobile game about stem cells in society currently in production. In addition, I coordinate the Life in Translation and Biocircularities initiatives.

Dr Karen Jent on the Reproductive Sociology Research Group website

Dr Karen Jent's personal website


Gender, science, medicine, technology, body, nature and feminist theory

Research Interests

Karen's research includes questions of growth, reproduction and plasticity, health and disease, nature and environment, aging and rejuvenation, body and embodiment, science and technology, science communication and public engagement, multispecies ethnography and animal studies, gender and feminist theory, science and technology studies, sociology and anthropology.