Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Graduate school


Shona Jane Lee

Shona Jane Lee
Shona Jane Lee
African Studies School of Social and Political Science University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
Research Interests
Infectious Disease, Parasitology, Spatial Analysis, GIS, Global Health, Evolutionary Medicine, Network Analysis, Technology Adoption, Neglected diseases and zoonoses, Data Science, Computational Biology

PhD Title

A critical ethnography of Human African Trypanosomisis control in northern Uganda

PhD Candidate – INZI research group, University of Edinburgh (2013 - Present)

MSc. Evolutionary Medicine,  Durham University                       (2013)
B.A (Hons) Combined Natural Sciences, Durham University (2012)

I am a social scientist with a background in parasitology and evolutionary biology, and a member of the multidisciplinary INZI research group at the Centre of African Studies. I'm interested in how epidemiological constructs are produced through technologies of surveillance and control, with a particular focus on emerging and neglected zoonotic diseases.  My PhD research on Sleeping Sickness control in Uganda examines how epidemiological evidence is constructed through technology, policy, and practice.

The incidence of HAT (Human African Trypanosomiasis) has declined significantly in Uganda in recent years, paving a roadmap for elimination of T.b. gambiense HAT as a public health problem by 2020. Enabled by this elimination agenda, and driven by technology-oriented Public Private Partnerships, focus has shifted from reactive outbreak response to sustaining surveillance and pressure ‘to the last mile’. While cost-effectiveness is key to ensuring the sustainability of programmes, less emphasis is placed on the socio-technical relationships and implications that shape the long-term legacy of interventions.

My ethnographic research follows the implementation of key ‘emerging technologies’, exploring how Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), Tiny Targets, and livestock spraying networks address infrastructural capacity, accessibility, and acceptability at the community level. In documenting the social lives of these technologies, a critical analysis of these socio-technical relationships reveals how the social proximity of technologies determine their sustainability in local contexts.