Sabine Biedermann Camposano
Technische Universität Berlin
School VI: Planning Building Environment
Department of Sociology
Sekretariatszeichen FH 9-1
From food to poop: examining the human microbiome as an innovation field in healthcare
The alarming increase in non-communicable diseases such as allergies, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has brought on a proliferation in research on new therapeutic approaches to treat and possibly cure them. However, medical innovation goes through a long and complex process to gather enough evidence for its safe implementation and only a few make the leap from laboratory to clinical practice.
A rapidly growing area of research on possible causes and cures for chronic illnesses is the human microbiome – the totality of microorganisms and their genetic information present in and on the human body – and its relation with health, the environment and nutrition. Yet the vast numbers of microorganisms found in the human body remain relatively unknown. The information is new enough that the modification of the human microbiota for treating chronic illness continues to be experimental and controversial.
My dissertation project aims to examine the interrelations between knowledge-production and therapeutic intervention of the human microbiome following the question about how the new understandings and visibilities of the human microbiome wind themselves into medical practices and what they do with/to them. By this, I intend to follow the now long-standing tradition of science and technology studies ethnographic inquiries and direct my attention to non-human agency, relations, and practices.