Postdoctoral Fellows, Research Associates & Visiting Scholars

Postdoctoral Fellows

Ellen Abrams

Supervisor: Professor Alberto Cambrosio

co-supervisor: Professor Samer Faraj


Peggy Chiapetta

Supervisor: Professor Jennifer Fishman

margaret.chiappetta [at]


Peggy Chiappetta is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Department of Social Studies of Medicine at McGill University. She received a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies from York University and an M.A. in Science and Technology Studies from the University of British Columbia. From 2018 – 2019 she was a doctoral researcher at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Research Interests

Chiappetta is interested in the economic and financial aspects of pharmaceutical and biotech innovation. Her research focuses broadly on R&D financing, risk capital management, equity markets, new business models, technology transfer and research commercialization, open innovation, intellectual property and IP valuation.

Selected Publications

Birch, Kean, Margaret Chiappetta, and Anna Artyushina (forthcoming 2020). “The problem of innovation in technoscientific capitalism: Policy implications of turning personal digital data into a private asset” Policy Studies.

Chiappetta, Margaret, and Kean Birch (2018). “Limits to Biocapital.” In The Routledge Handbook of Genomics, Health and Society. Eds. Stephen Hilgartner, Sahra Gibbon, Barbara Prainsaick, and Janelle Lamoreaux. London: Routledge.

Birch, Kean, David Tyfield, and Margaret Chiappetta (2018). “From Neoliberalizing Research to Researching Neoliberalism: STS and the Emergence of Commons 2.0.” In The SAGE Handbook of Neoliberalism. Eds. Damien Cahil, Martijn Konings, Melinda Cooper, and David Primrose. Thousand Oaks CA: SAGE

Marisol Marini

Current Postdoc at McGill University - Supervisor: Professor Jennifer Fishman

March 2019 - February 2022: Postdoc Researcher, University of Campinas - Unicamp, Department of Science and Technology Policy - DPCT.

PhD (Social Anthropology), University of São Paulo, MSc (Social Anthropology), University of São Paulo, BA (Social Sciences), University of São Paulo

marisolmmarini [at]  -  marisol.marini [at]

Research Interests

Anthropologist of science, technology, and medicine, Marini's research interests are focused on body and embodiment.

Interested in the practical and embodied aspects of knowledge production and technological development, her gaze turns to the intertwining between flesh and devices, discourses and practices, and heterogeneous entities. She uses ethnographic approach to describe and analyze the emergence of new medical knowledge and technologies, new bodies, physiologies, illuminating the ontological multiplicity emerging from the different biotechnological solutions.

In her master degree she investigated how psychiatric, psychoanalytic and nutritional knowledge was embodied in the experience of women diagnosed with anorexia and bulimia, straining the boundaries between what is considered healthy or pathological, hegemonic and dissident. Her PhD research addressed circulatory assistant technologies, the so-called artificial hearts, used to prolong the lives of patients with heart failure, exploring how the development and use of these technologies was changing conceptions about the limits between life and death, body, and human itself.

Her new project examines the development of algorithms applied to ventricular assist devices. Smart robotic systems, associated with industry/health 4.0 transformations, pose ethical dilemmas and moral instabilities, especially regarding the autonomy given to artificial intelligence.

The aim is to follow the production of control systems, designed for the enhancement of cardiac devices. These projects seek to deal with the limitations of the current circulatory technologies, which do not consider time as a variable, that is, in which patients do not suffer variations over time. The proposal, then, is to use algorithms to "teach the devices to grow old". Characterized as very experimental, those proposals allows to approach ethical challenges, questioning its effects while the devices are still under development, in order to imagine possible scenarios and to reflect on the socio-technical-existential implications.

Her analytical approaches have navigated around scientific imagination, sensitive/sensory aspects and bodily engagement in technoscientific production, biomedical and scientific heroism, inequities in the field of cardiac biotechnology production, responsible innovation, interdisciplinarity and the local challenges of scientific and technological development.

Recent Publications


Marini, M., Monteiro, M., & Slatman, J. (2022). Multiplicity and ontological instability in nonhuman hearts. Saúde E Sociedade, 31(2), e220045pt.

Marini, M. (2022). Special Editorial: Body, health, and materialities dossier. Saúde E Sociedade, 31(2), e220520pt.


Marini, Marisol. The role of the imagination in the development of Artificial Hearts: towards an understanding of embodied and shared imagination. Mana [online]. 2021, v. 27, n. 2, e272207. Available from: <>. Epub 10 Sept 2021. ISSN 1678-4944.

Marini, Marisol, OLIVEIRA, Joana Cabral de; WANKE, Guilherme. Slipping between scales. On fluid bodies, porous boundaries and immunological short-circuits.

ClimaCom – Epidemiologias [Online], Campinas, ano 7, n. 19, Dez. 2020. Available from:


Marini, Marisol. Unproductive Participation and Protection Against Germs: Technical-Ritualistic Practices in Heart Surgery. Vibrant: Virtual Brazilian Anthropology [online]. 2019, v. 16. Available from: <>. Epub 28 Nov 2019. ISSN 1809-4341.

Marini, Marisol. Challenges around blood in the production of artificial hearts. ACENO - Revista de Antropologia do Centro-Oeste, v. 7 n. 14 (2020): Maio a Agosto de 2020. DOI: 10.48074/aceno.v7i14.9591.


Jessica Polk

Supervisor: Professor Alberto Cambrosio

jessica.polk [at] · jbp243 [at]


Bio and Research Interests

Jess Polk received her PhD in the Department of Science & Technology Studies at Cornell University. Her research stands at the intersection of science and technology studies, the sociology of medicine, and the information sciences. Specifically, Jess’ work focuses on: 1) online health data sharing platforms, as well as digital health and lifestyle tracking devices and mobile apps; 2) virtual research collaboration, health informatics and data collection and curation processes; 4) medical and lay (patient) expertise; 5) biomedical and clinical research practices; and 6) how corporate health and wellness programs conceptualize notions of employee health.

Jessica joined McGill University’s Department of Social Studies of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow. Working with Dr. Alberto Cambrosio and Dr. Peter Keating, Jess is part of an international study on precision oncology supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Her current project is an ethnographic exploration of the social, organizational, and policy-driven implications of precision oncology, genomic-driven trials, data sharing practices and decision support infrastructures.

In addition to her academic training, Jess has worked in the pharmaceutical industry, epidemiology, and pediatric rehabilitation research.

Most Recent Publications

Ribes, D. & Polk, JB. (2015). Organizing for Ontological Change: The Kernel of an AIDS Research Infrastructure. Social Studies of Science (SSS), 45(2): 214-241.

Ribes D. & Polk, JB. (2014). Flexibility relative to what? Change to Research Infrastructure. Special Issue of the Journal of the Association of Information Systems (JAIS) on Innovation in Information Infrastructures 15: 287-305.

Ribes, D. & Polk, J. Historical Ontology & Infrastructure. In Proceedings of the 2012 iConference. iConference, Toronto, Feb 7-10 2012 (Accepted 7 November 2011).

Felix E. Rietmann

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Schlich

felix.rietmann [at]



Felix E. Rietmann is SNSF Ambition Fellow at the Chair of Medical Humanities at the University of Fribourg. His research explores the material and visual culture of medicine with a special interest in the history of child health. He holds an MSc from Imperial College London, an MD from Charité-Berlin and a PhD from Princeton University.

Research Interests

History of Modern Medicine and Public Health; History of Health and Illness in Childhood; Film and Medicine; Literature and Medicine; Material and Visual Culture of Medicine

Selected Publications

F. Rietmann, “Raising a well-grown child: Popular periodicals and the cultural history of child health in the early nineteenth century,” KulturPoetik [cultural poetics] 22, no. 2 (2022).

F. Rietmann, “Von Systemanalyse zu Familiennarrativ: Kleinkindpsychiatrie in Lausanne,” in “Das Problem Kind: Zur Geschichte der Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie der Schweiz im 20. Jahrhundert,” edited by Urs Germann, Urs Hafner, and Mirjam Janett, Itinera. Supplément de la Revue suisse d'histoire (Fall 2022).

F. Rietmann, “No Escape from Fleck”, Isis 109, no. 1 (2018): 91-94.

F. Rietmann, M. Schildmann, C. Arni, D.T. Cook, D. Giuriato, N. Göhlsdorf, and W. Muigai, “Knowledge of childhood: Materiality, text, and the history of science - an interdisciplinary round table discussion”, The British Journal for the History of Science 50, no. 1 (2017): 111-141.

F. Rietmann, “Visualiser l’esprit de l’enfant : une généalogie de l’image en pédopsychiatrie“, Neuropsychiatrie de l'Enfance et de l'Adolescence 64, no. 7 (2016): 473–80.


Cynthia Tang

B.Sc. University of Toronto (Toxicology), M.Sc. University of Waterloo (Immunology), M.A. McGill University (History of Medicine), PhD McGill University (History of Medicine)

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Schlich

cynthia.tang2 [at]

Research Interests

My research explores the social and political contexts in which technological change takes place in medicine, with a focus on the major shifts that occurred in twentieth century surgical practice. My current projects examine how new surgical technologies affect patients’ experiences of medical care and how political policies influence surgical practice.

Research Associates

Rachel Elder

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Schlich

rachel.elder [at]


Rachel Elder is a historian of science, medicine, technology, and disability in American culture. Her current book manuscript, “Secrecy and Safety: A Cultural History of Seizures in Mid-Twentieth Century America” (under contract and forthcoming with Johns Hopkins University Press), explores how epilepsy was redefined in an era of rising, yet largely unrealized, hopes for medical control. The project traces new forms of invisible disability that followed in postwar public life, and as a dissertation-to-book project, won the Pressman-Burroughs Career Development Award from the American Association for the History of Medicine. She is also working on projects that examine the role of neurological patients in constructing knowledge about the brain, histories of men in nursing, and a CIHR-funded project with Thomas Schlich on technology and patient consumerism in American medicine and healthcare. Before coming to McGill, Rachel was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Social Medicine and Humanities at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Lecturer in the Program of the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. She holds a Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Research Interests

20th century medicine; disability; technology and the body; gender and science; sexuality; neurology and neuroscience

Selected Publications

“White Suits and Kangaroo Kills: Making Men’s Careers in American Nursing.” Gender & History (May 2021).

“Speaking Secrets: Epilepsy, Neurosurgery, and the Patient Testimony in the Age of the Explorable Brain, 1934-1960.” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 89.4 (Winter 2015), 761-789.

“Safe Seizures, Schoolyard Stoics, and the Construction of Secure Citizens at the Detroit White School for Epileptic Children." Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 7.3 (Fall 2014), 430-461.

“Chasing Whispers in the Neuro Archive.” Osler Library Newsletter. No. 117 (Fall 2012), 6-7.

With Catherine Carstairs. “Expertise, Health, and Popular Opinion: Debating Water Fluoridation, 1945-80.” The Canadian Historical Review 89.3 (Fall 2008), 345-371.

Jonah Campbell

Supervisor: Professor Alberto Cambrosio

jonah.campbell [at]



Jonah Campbell is a Research Associate with the Department of Social Studies of Medicine, whose work has spanned projects in the history of state-based and international chronic disease programming, Global Health and the Social Determinants of Health; the regulatory and evidentiary politics of opioids in the United States; Cold War psychiatry; psychiatric and gynecological approaches to female sexual frigidity; and the sociology of genomic oncology. Current work focuses on the intersection of precision medicine, Big Data and the “new” clinical trial designs in cancer.

Research Interests

Oncology, biomedicine, clinical trials, “Big Data” and personalized medicine, historical epistemology, Science and Technology Studies.

Selected Publications

With Alberto Cambrosio, Étienne Vignola-Gagné, Peter Keating, Bertrand Jordan, and Pascale Bourret, ““Overcoming the Bottleneck”: Knowledge Architectures for Genomic Data Interpretation in the Oncology Domain” (under review)

With Alberto Cambrosio, Peter Keating, and Pascale Bourret, “Multi-Polar Scripts: Techno-Regulatory Environments and the Rise of Precision Oncology Diagnostic Tests” Social Science and Medicine (in press, online May 2019)

With Nicholas King, ““Unsettling Circularity”: Clinical Trial Enrichment and the Evidentiary Politics of Chronic Pain.” Biosocieties. Vol. 12, Issue 2, June 2017\

Minakshi Menon

Supervisor: Thomas Schlich

minakshi.menon [at]


Minakshi Menon is a historian of early modern science and medicine. She studies colonial sciences and medical systems in South Asia. Before coming to McGill, she led a Working Group, “Hortus Indicus Malabaricus: the Eurasian Life of a Seventeenth-Century European Botanical Classic,” at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. Minakshi’s project has moved with her to SSoM; and is also supported by Laboratoire Sphere/CNRS at Université Paris Cité. It studies the plant descriptions and illustrations in the 12-volume Hortus malabaricus (published 1678-1693), in order to understand the natural-knowledge making practices of Dutch colonists, Brahmin and Ezhava physicians, and other groups in the Malayalam-speaking parts of southwest India.

Minakshi is completing a book manuscript provisionally titled “Empiricism’s Empire: Natural Knowledge Making, State Making and Governance in East India Company India, 1784-1830.” It studies the botanical knowledge making of East India Company savants, William Jones, Henry Thomas Colebrooke, and the Edinburgh-trained medic, Francis Buchanan; and draws on English East India Company records, and manuscripts in Sanskrit, Bengali and Malayalam.

She has held postdoctoral fellowships in Department II of the MPIWG (Lorraine Daston) and the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge (Humboldt University); and is a founding member and Associate Fellow of the Centre pour le histoire de la philosophie et des sciences vue d’Asie, d’Afrique etc. (CHPSAA), which is part of Sphere. She received her Ph.D. in History and Science Studies from the University of California San Diego.

Research Interests

Colonial sciences in South Asia, history and anthropology of science and medicine in early modern and modern South Asia, 18th and 19th century natural history in Europe and Asia, early modern botanical sciences, visual cultures of science and medicine, translation studies, Indian Ocean World studies, South Asian studies, gender and science, manuscript studies

Recent Publications & Multimedia

Review: Paul A. Elliott, Erasmus Darwin’s Gardens: Medicine, Agriculture, and the Enlightenment Sciences Isis: Vol 114, No. 1, March 2023

Edited Special Issue South Asian History and Culture, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2022: “Indigenous Knowledges and Colonial Sciences in South Asia”

Introduction: Indigenous Knowledges and Colonial Sciences in South Asia

What’s in a Name? William Jones, ‘philological empiricism’ and botanical knowledge making in eighteenth-century India

Nominated for the J. Worth Estes Prize of the American Association for the History of Medicine


“Decolonizing Herbarium Collections.” Gardens of Empire. On the politics of collecting nature. Part of series 99 Questions: Colonialism and Coloniality, Humboldt Forum, Berlin, 21/02/2022:
“Missing Voices: South Asian Perspectives on the Gwillim Archives” McGill Library/Digital Museums Canada 2023

This project (PI Dr. Victoria Dickenson) has been awarded the President’s Medal of the Society for the History of Natural History for 2023


Minakshi Menon

Graduate Research Trainees

Bart Lutters

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Schlich

bartlutters [at]


Manuel Merkofer

BA of Science in Psychology (University of Zurich), MA in History and Philosophy of Knowledge (ETH Zurich, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), PhD candidate in History (University of Zurich)

Supervisor: Dr Thomas Schlich

manuel.merkofer [at]


Research Interests

History of Neurosurgery, History of Psychology, History of Psychiatry, Transnational History, History of Science


Niklas Petersen

B.A. Sociology, University of Göttingen, Germany (2014)
M.A. Sociology, University of Jena, Germany (2017)

Supervisor: Professor Alberto Cambrosio

niklas.petersen [at]


Research Interests

Medical sociology, sociology of care, critical gerontology, qualitative methodologies

Recent Publications

Niklas Petersen & Silke Schicktanz (2021): The Experts’ Advice. Prevention and Responsibility in German Media and Scientific Discourses on Dementia. Qualitative Health Research, 31:10, 2005–2018.


Niklas Petersen (2021): Neuro-Kultur des Alterns. Altern und Demenz(-Prävention) in der Aktivgesellschaft [Neuro-Culture of Aging. Aging and Dementia(-Prevention) in the Active Society], in: Franz Kolland et al. (ed.): Kulturgerontologie – Kulturalistische Perspektiven auf das Alter(n) im deutschsprachigen Raum, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 151–170.


Stefanie Börner, Niklas Petersen, Hartmut Rosa & André Stiegler (2020): Paradoxes of Late-Modern Autonomy Imperatives. Reconciling Individual Claims and Institutional Demands in Everyday Practice. British Journal of Sociology, 71, 236–252.

Niklas Petersen (2020): Ambivalenzen der Eigenverantwortung. Prekäre Selbstbestimmung im flexiblen Kapitalismus [Ambivalences of Self-Responsibility. Precarious Autonomy in Flexible Capitalism.] Baden-Baden: Tectum.









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