GIST Seminar

The 84th GIST Seminar "Movements in science and policy: The choreography of systems biology"

The 84th GIST Seminar
Lecturer Dr. Niki Vermeulen, Lecturer in history/sociology of science and Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of Edinburgh
Time January 12, 2017 5:30pm - 7:00pm (Doors open at 5:10pm)
Place National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, 4th Floor, Room 4A (ACCESS)
Sponsorship GRIPS Innovation, Science and Technology Policy Program (GIST)
Language English
Participation fees Free (Pre-registraion required)


At the turn of the millennium, systems biology emerged as a new trend in the life sciences claiming to revolutionise biology and medicine. While the Human Genome Project and subsequent reductionist -omics approaches produced masses of data on the key molecules in living cells, systems biology shifts towards a more holistic mind-set, focussing on interactions to discover life's universal principles and laws. This new way of creating biological knowledge through the making of mathematical models of life, ultimately aims to advance personalized medicine. By conceptualizing systems biology as a Scientific/Intellectual Movement (Frickel & Gross, 2005), and analysing the entanglement of epistemic and social transformations, this paper discusses how a group of researchers from different disciplines and countries has moved the modeling of life from the periphery towards the centre of biology. More specifically, I will detail three interrelated spatial movements: aggregation, circulation and oscillation. I will show how some strong, dispersed local centers, have been able to effectively raise funds to build human capacity, organisations and infrastructures, and create international networks. Through interaction with science policy makers, a global circulation of policies for systems biology took place, producing a rise of creative activity around systems biology. However, 'what comes up must go down', and as science policy and funding are now moving to the next frontier, the future of systems biology is hanging in the balance.

Simplified personal history

Niki Vermeulen is a lecturer in history/sociology of science and Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and member of the Royal Society Edinburgh’s Young Academy of Scotland. She specialises in science and innovation policy and the organisation of research, with an emphasis on collaboration in the life sciences. Her current Wellcome Trust projects look into the emergence of systems biology and the institutionalization of biomedical research. Niki holds a PhD from Maastricht University, and held positions at the University of Vienna and the University of Manchester. In addition, Niki has been working for Technopolis Group, the Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy, and the Scientific Council of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Washington D.C.


Please fill in Registration Form by 5pm on January 11.
If you cannot open the form, please send email to GIST Secretariat,
Registration email must include: 1) your name*, 2) institution*, 3) job title, and 4) contact information (email address or phone number)*. *Required items
The application will be closed as soon as the number of applicants reaches the capacity.

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