The construction of the environment in epigenetics research: a social science exploration

Year of award: 2015


  • Clemence Pinel

    King's College London

Project summary

This project aims to investigate epigenetics research to understand how, where and why new epigenetic knowledge is produced, and identify the elements influencing the production of this emerging body of knowledge. 

I will analyse the epigenetic notion of environment by unpacking what it means in specific cases. I will carry out both a systematic review of published epigenetics research to examine how the notion of environment is understood and defined, and a systematic review of the social science literature to understand to what extent the notion of environment is critically reflected on. I will also explore how the notion of environment is conceptualised and enacted in breast cancer epigenetics and the EpiTwin diabetes project, using ethnographic methods. 

I will carry out a narrative analysis of the data to explore how researchers in epigenetics make sense of their world and understand the notion of environment in their professional lives.