New book: ‘Craft in Biomedical Research: The iPS Cell Technology and the Future of Stem Cell Science’ by Mianna Meskus

The STS Helsinki blog is happy to present and promote the recent publication of the book of one of our members, Associate Professor Mianna Meskus.

The book, titled ‘Craft in Biomedical Research: The iPS Cell Technology and the Future of Stem Cell Science’, tells us about the political and economic expectations placed upon stem cell research by exploring how iPS cell technology has made it possible to turn human skin and blood cells into pluripotent stem cells. These biotechnological advancements provide with unprecedented opportunities to study the pathophysiology of diseases, understand human developmental biology and generate new forms of therapy. Mianna Meskus approaches the topic by discussing non-human agency, the embodied and affective basis of knowledge production, and the material politics of science, developing the idea of an instrumentality-care continuum as a fundamental dynamic of biomedical craft. These three approaches serve as the main tools to discuss the form in which biology becomes technology by providing new perspectives to the commercialization and industrial-scale appropriation of human biology and, as a result, to the future of ethical biomedical research.

The book comes endorsed by Professor Charis Thompson, from the University of California at Berkeley, and Associate Professor Melinda Cooper, from the University of Sidney. About the book, Professor Thompson has highlighted the “extensive fieldwork” behind the book and that it “shows that as stem cells are becoming a highly versatile biological research tool, working with them continues to require demanding embodied skills and judgment, and dense political and affective engagement”. Associate Professor Melinda Cooper emphasises the central position of the notion of “‘craftwork’ at the heart of the laboratory” and the unpredictability of “the pathway from the lab to the clinic to the market” that only “high artisanal craftwork” can bridge.

The book is published by Palgrave Macmillan and can be bought and accessed by clicking here.