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Reproductive Sociology Research Group

Studying at Cambridge


Karen Jent


My PhD project on regenerative medicine in Scotland and the United States ethnographically explores stem cell scientists' notions of biological growth – normal and malignant – between the tissue culture lab and the cancer ward. Specifically, I examine how the development of stem cell therapies materializes connections between the regeneration of immune systems, bodily environments and blood cancers. My research has been funded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the Wellcome Trust.

I have an M.A. (2013) and B.A. (2010) in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. I was an editor of ROSA Interdisciplinary Journal of Gender Studies between 2010 and 2012.

My research concerns include questions of growth and reproduction, 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. 

At ReproSoc, I coordinate the Life In Translation project together with Professor Sarah Franklin and Dr Noémie Merleau-Ponty.



In spring 2017, I co-convened the Biocircularities - Lives, Times and Technologies meeting held at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge, on 31 March & 1 April 2017.


Engagement activities

Dish Life (2016) is an award-winning short film that explores stem cell scientists' emotional relationship to the cells in their care and was realised collaboratively with Chloe Thomas (director), Loriana Vitillo & Karen Jent (executive producers). Watch Dish life here.

In collaboration with EuroStemCell, I co-organised Unfolding Organogenesis, an interactive walk-in exhibition about organ development, regenerative medicine and origami art at the Edinburgh International Science Festival, April 2016.

A full list of my public engagement activities can be found on my personal website.



I am an undergraduate supervisor for the Soc10 Sociology of Gender paper, supervising on gender, science, medicine, body, nature and feminist theory.


Key Publications

(2016) Unfolding Organogenesis, published on ReproSoc Blog (May 5, 2016).

(2016) Reproducing the Magic: Uncertain Science and Reason+, published on (April 26, 2016).

(2015) Malignant – How Cancer Becomes Us, in: Medicine Anthropology Theory 2 (1), pp. 182-85.

(2012) Tick tock goes the clock: Laboratory modes of anticipation, published on (February 20, 2012).


Conference presentations

(2017) Biocircular Firefighters: Haematopoietic Stem Cell Donation after 9/11, Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) Conference "Biocircularities: Lives, Times and Technologies," University of Cambridge, April.

(2016) The Magpie's Nest and the Stem Cell Niche: Reproduction and Induction of Stem Cell Microenvironments in Scotland, Royal Anthropological Institute Conference "Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change," London, May.