Miguel Garcia-Sancho
Name
Dr Miguel Garcia-Sancho
Title
Senior Lecturer
Organisation
Science Technology and Innovation Studies School of Social and Political Science
University of Edinburgh
Address
Room 2.95 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
Telephone
+44 (0)131 6506393
E-Mail
History of science Science and technology studies science communication genomics biotechnology bioinformatics animal genetics biology and agriculture

After his PhD at Imperial College London, Miguel worked at Manchester University, Centre for the History of Science, and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Department of Science, Technology and Society. His research interests are in the history of contemporary biomedicine, with special emphasis on the transition between molecular biology and new forms of knowledge production at the fall of the 20th century:  biotechnology, bioinformatics and genomics. He is now developing a five-year Chancellor's Fellowship in the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies of the University of Edinburgh and has recently been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council.

His research focuses on the history of agricultural biotechnology and the cloning of Dolly the sheep, and the development of concerted mapping and sequencing initiatives, with special attention to the science, politics and socio-economic expectations behind the human and other large-scale genome projects which proliferated in the 1980s and 90s. A paperback edition of his book Biology, Computing and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA was recently published by Palgrave-Macmillan. He previously worked as a journalist and is interested in science communication and public engagement.

See my latest publications and research projects here

Teaching

Course organiser of Controversies in Medicine, Technology and the Environmentan honours course also available to postgraduate students.

See course's promotional video.

Research projects

Ongoing

Medical Translation in the History of Modern GenomicsStarting Grant, European Research Council (ERC). 1.5 million euros.

Concluded

Historicising Dolly: An Edinburgh-centred case study of the emergence of animal biotechnology. UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and University of Edinburgh. £200,000.

  • See published transcript of a Collective Memory Event that gathered the joint recollections of the scientists and stakeholders involved in the cloning of Dolly the sheep.

Research interests

1) Interactions between biomedicine and computing / biology and agriculture.

2) The organisation of large-scale biomedical initiatives, especially genomic projects.

3) Changing configurations of pure and applied research in biotechnological enterprises.

4) Social and historical dimensions in the formation of biomedical expectations. Role of narratives and biographical accounts in those processes.

5) Interdisciplinary connections between history of science and contemporary-oriented science studies (anthropological, sociological, economic and policy perspectives).

Selected publications

(2016) 'The proactive historian: methodological opportunities presented by the new archives documenting genomics', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 55: 70-82. Special issue on 'Navigating big biology', edited by Christine Aicardi and Miguel Garcia-Sancho. Published version / Postprint

(2016) Recasting the local and the global: the three lives of protein sequencing in Spanish biomedical research (1968-1998). In M. Merz and P. Sormani (eds.) The Local Configuration of New Research Fields: On Regional and National Diversity (Springer: Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook): 205-228. Published version / Postprint

(2015) 'Animal breeding in the age of biotechnology: the investigative pathway behind the cloning of Dolly the sheep', History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 37(3): 282-304. Published version / Postprint

(2015) ‘Genetic information in the age of DNA sequencing’, Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 50(1): 110-142. Published version / Postprint

(2012) Biology, Computing and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA, 1945-2000 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).  Publisher's catalogue entry

(2012) From the genetic to the computer program: the historicity of data and computation in the investigations on the nematode worm C. elegans (1963-1998), Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43: 16-28. Published version / Postprint

(2012, with P. Chow-White) Bi-directional shaping and spaces of convergence: interactions between biology and computing from the first DNA sequencers to global genome databases, Science, Technology and Human Values, 37(1): 124-164. Published version / Postprint

(2011) From metaphors to practices: the introduction of information engineers into the first DNA sequence database, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 33: 71-104. Published version / Postprint

(2011) Academic and molecular matrices: a study of the transformations of connective tissue research at the University of Manchester (1947-1996), Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 42(2): 233-245. Published version open access

(2010) A new insight into Sangers development of sequencing: from proteins to DNA, 1943- 77, Journal of the History of Biology, 43(2): 265-323. Published version / Postprint

(2007) The rise and fall of the idea of genetic information (1948-2006), Genomics, Society and Policy, 2(3): 16-36. Published version open access

(2007) Mapping and sequencing information: the social context for the genomics revolution, Endeavour, 31(1): 18-23. Published version / Postprint

 

Latest Blog Posts

New publication: 'Sequencing Through Thick and Thin'

Name New publication: 'Sequencing Through Thick and Thin' Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone The first peer-reviewed publication arising from the TRANSGENE project has now been published online by the journal Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. Entitled 'Sequencing through … (Read more)


TRANSGENE on European genomics

Name TRANSGENE on European genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone At the recent conference of the European Society for the History of Science in London, the TRANSGENE team organised a symposium chaired by Robert Bud on the crucial role of European transnational collaboration … (Read more)


TRANSGENE goes to the Fringe

Name TRANSGENE goes to the Fringe Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone On 22nd August, TRANSGENE took part in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. As part of the ‘Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas’ strand, James Lowe presented a show … (Read more)


The future of sustainable food production?

Name The future of sustainable food production? Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone On July 18th, I attended a horizon-scanning workshop on food sustainability hosted by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. The aim of the meeting was to scope out the challenges facing food … (Read more)


The Canadian chapter of the history of human genomics

Name The Canadian chapter of the history of human genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Miguel Garcia-Sancho, PI of the TRANSGENE project and lead investigator of the human genome strand, visited Toronto and Montreal last April to conduct historical research and participate in … (Read more)


Exploring pig genetics in France

Name Exploring pig genetics in France Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone At the end of November, I followed in the footsteps of many of the pig geneticists whose work I have been researching, and visited the Jouy-en-Josas campus of the French Institut national … (Read more)


Advisory Board Meeting and Second Phase of Project

Name Advisory Board Meeting and Second Phase of Project Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone First Advisory Board meeting The TRANSGENE team presented its first findings to an Advisory Board comprised by Stephen Hilgartner (Cornell University), Robert Bud (Science Museum, London), Michel Morange (University … (Read more)


The unusual pioneer of the Human Genome Project

Name The unusual pioneer of the Human Genome Project Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone When we think about prime-movers, proposing for the first time the idea of scientifically tackling the human genome, the usual suspects come to our mind: reputed biomedical Nobel Prize … (Read more)


TRANSGENE on tour

Name TRANSGENE on tour Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone …at the British Society for the History of Science conference Amongst the sizeable Edinburgh contingent at the annual British Society for the History of Science conference, this year held in York, were representatives from … (Read more)


June events

Name June events Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone The TRANSGENE project operates within the Science, Technology and Innovation Studies (STIS) subject group at the University of Edinburgh. This multidisciplinary affiliation, and association with the Institute for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation … (Read more)


Classifying people, practices and institutions

Name Classifying people, practices and institutions Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Just as classifications of species, genes, stages of development, or macromolecules can shape research in biology, classification in the humanities and social sciences can condition our analyses. In the pig strand of … (Read more)


The yeast telomeres

Name The yeast telomeres Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone Writing the history of the yeast genome project starting from the end, more precisely the chromosome ends, can be an instructive exercise. Chromosome ends (telomeres) are specialised structures essential for chromosome maintenance and genome … (Read more)


Collaborating with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI)

Name Collaborating with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In March 2017, I am conducting a three-week visiting post-doctoral fellowship at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI, Cambridge UK), for the bibliometric and “big data” strand of the project. I … (Read more)


The history of pig genome research enters the matrix

Name The history of pig genome research enters the matrix Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In the TRANSGENE project we are committed to using approaches from different disciplines to make sense of the historical material, and to generate new data from which to … (Read more)


Tracing the history of European biotechnology in the HAEU

Name Tracing the history of European biotechnology in the HAEU Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone My week-long visit to the Historical Archives of the European Union (HAEU) in Florence has proved to be a remarkable opportunity for investigating the ‘behind the scenes’ of … (Read more)


Scientific archives and the history of genomics

Name Scientific archives and the history of genomics Title Organisation School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh Telephone In November 2016 Miguel Garcia-Sancho, James Lowe and I attended the Workshop on Scientific Archives organised by Anne Flore-Laloë, archivist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg. The … (Read more)