Joanna Radin, PhD

Assistant Professor in the History of Medicine, of Anthropology and of History

Research Interests

Bioethics; Ethics; Expeditions; History of Medicine; Global Health; Cryopreservation; Biomedical Technology

Research Organizations

History of Medicine

Global Health Initiative

Office of Cooperative Research

Research Summary

I am currently at work on a book about Cold War efforts to freeze blood salvaged from members of indigenous communities. This project focuses on ideas about human life science and practices of salvage. Related research deals with the history, anthropology, and ethics of cryopreservation with special attention to the uses of cold storage in the realms of regenerative biomedicine and biodiversity conservation.

Other ongoing projects include an edited book, tentatively titled, Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World, Cold War histories of global biomedicine and indigeneity; the mobility and ethics of “big data”; a history of the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (with Susan Lindee); a biological history of decay; and a biography of science fiction author, Michael Crichton.

Specialized Terms: History of biology, medicine, and anthropology since 1945; Scientific expeditions; Biomedical ethics, human subjects research, collections, and laboratories; History of global health; Biomedical technology

Extensive Research Description

I am currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Life on Ice: Frozen Blood and Biological Variation in a Genomic Age which tracks the rise of human tissue as a resource for remaking anthropology and population genetics after World War II.

Related, I have been collaborating with biological and medical anthropologists on issues pertaining to the management of human remains.

As an outgrowth of my research on the preservation of human tissues, I am investigating genetic salvage projects focused on non-humans, particularly organisms classes as "endangered."

I also have interests in the Cold War roots of "Global Health" and am conducting research for a book on the relationship between the World Health Organization and the molecular life sciences.

"Not Allowed to Die" is an exploration of resistence to death in American biomedical culture since 1945.

"The Fiction of Fear" is a study of American attitudes towards emerging technologies as viewed through the fiction of Michael Crichton.

Selected Publications

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Contact Info

Joanna Radin, PhD