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Nicole C. Nelson

Title: Assistant Professor

Interests: History of the recent life sciences, especially
 genetics; biology and society; science and
 technology studies; science and law; laboratory
 studies and scientific practice; ethnography and
 oral history.
Phone:(608) 262-3492

Office:Room 207, Bradley Memorial Building


Nicole Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the History of Science department. Her research examines the history of the recent life sciences; in particular, the way that genetic understandings of human diseases and disorders are investigated, materialized, and circulated in different institutional and sociocultural settings. She is currently working on two main projects: The first is a book project (tentatively titled Model Behavior) on animal behavior genetics research that uses ethnographic methods to explore how scientists develop and deploy animal models to produce molecular knowledge about human alcoholism and anxiety. The second project, conducted in collaboration with Alberto Cambrosio (McGill University) and Peter Keating (UQAM) and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, examines the recent history of oncology research and the introduction of molecular analysis techniques into clinical trials and clinical practice. She has also worked on the history of the development and commercialization of the biolistic gene gun, a technology used to generate some of the first genetically modified agricultural plants. Dr. Nelson has previously held positions as a postdoctoral fellow in the Social Studies of Medicine department at McGill University and as the Reviews Editor for Social Studies of Science, and is currently a Collaborating Editor for Social Studies of Science.

Curriculum Vitae

Nicole C. Nelson's C.V.


Ph.D., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Science and Technology Studies, 2011

M.A., Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, Science and Technology Studies, 2007

B.Sc., University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Genetics and Social and Political Thought, 2004


Nicole Nelson, "Model homes for model organisms: Intersections of animal welfare and behavioral neuroscience around the environment of the laboratory mouse," BioSocieties (forthcoming) (2015).

Nicole C. Nelson, "A Knockout Experiment: Disciplinary Divides and Experimental Skill in Animal Behavior Genetics," Medical History 59:3 (2015), 465–485.

Leonelli, Sabina, Rachel A. Ankeny, Nicole C. Nelson, and Edward Ramsden, "Making Organisms Model Humans: Situated Models in Alcohol Research," Science in Context 27:3 (2014), 485-509.

Nelson, Nicole C., Peter Keating, Alberto Cambrosio, Adriana Aguilar-Mahecha, and Mark Basik, "Testing Devices or Experimental Systems? Cancer Clinical Trials Take the Genomic Turn," Social Science and Medicine 111 (2014), 74-83.

Cambrosio, Alberto, Peter Keating, and Nicole C. Nelson, "Régimes thérapeutiques et dispositifs de preuve en oncologie: l’organisation des essais cliniques des groupes coopérateurs aux consortiums de recherche," Sciences Sociales & Santé 32:3 (2014), 13-42.

Nelson, Nicole C., "Modeling Mouse, Human, and Discipline: Epistemic Scaffolds in Animal Behavior Genetics," Social Studies of Science 43:1 (2013), 3-29.

Nelson, Nicole C., Peter Keating, and Alberto Cambrosio, "On being ‘Actionable’: Clinical Sequencing and the Emerging Contours of Genomic Medicine in Oncology," New Genetics and Society 32:4 (2013), 405-428.

Keating, Peter, Alberto Cambrosio, Nicole C. Nelson, Andrei Mogoutov, and Jean-Philippe Cointet, "Therapy’s Shadow: A Short History of the Study of Resistance to Cancer Chemotherapy," Frontiers in Pharmacology 4 (2013), 58.

Nelson, Nicole, "Shooting Genes, Distributing Credit: Narrating the Development of the Biolistic Gene Gun," Science as Culture 21:2 (2012), 205-232.

Nicole C. Nelson
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