Skip to main content

School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Miguel Garcia-Sancho

Miguel Garcia-Sancho
Dr Miguel Garcia-Sancho
Chancellors Fellow / Lecturer
Room 2.03 Old Surgeons' Hall High School Yards Edinburgh UK EH1 1LZ
+44 (0)131 6506393
Research Interests
History of science, science and technology studies, science communication, genomics, biotechnology, bioinformatics, animal genetics, biology and agriculture

After his PhD at Imperial College London, Miguel worked at Manchester University, Centre for the History of Science, and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Department of Science, Technology and Society. His research interests are in the history of contemporary biomedicine, with special emphasis on the transition between molecular biology and new forms of knowledge production at the fall of the 20th century:  biotechnology, bioinformatics and genomics. He is now developing a five-year Chancellor's Fellowship in the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies of the University of Edinburgh and has recently been awarded a Starting Grant by the European Research Council.

His research focuses on the history of agricultural biotechnology and the cloning of Dolly the sheep, and the development of concerted mapping and sequencing initiatives, with special attention to the science, politics and socio-economic expectations behind the human and other large-scale genome projects which proliferated in the 1980s and 90s. A paperback edition of his book Biology, Computing and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA was recently published by Palgrave-Macmillan. He previously worked as a journalist and is interested in science communication and public engagement.

See my latest publications and research projects here

Research projects

1) Historicising Dolly: An Edinburgh-centred case study of the emergence of animal biotechnology. UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). £98,000.

2) Medical Translation in the History of Modern Genomics. Starting Grant, European Research Council (ERC). 1.5 million euros.

Research interests

1) Interactions between biomedicine and computing / biology and agriculture.

2) The organisation of large-scale biomedical initiatives, especially genomic projects.

3) Changing configurations of pure and applied research in biotechnological enterprises.

4) Social and historical dimensions in the formation of biomedical expectations. Role of narratives and biographical accounts in those processes.

5) Interdisciplinary connections between history of science and contemporary-oriented science studies (anthropological, sociological, economic and policy perspectives).

Selected publications

(2016) 'The proactive historian: methodological opportunities presented by the new archives documenting genomics', Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 55: 70-82. Special issue on 'Navigating big biology', edited by Christine Aicardi and Miguel Garcia-Sancho. Published version / Postprint

(2016) Recasting the local and the global: the three lives of protein sequencing in Spanish biomedical research (1968-1998). In M. Merz and P. Sormani (eds.) The Local Configuration of New Research Fields: On Regional and National Diversity (Springer: Sociology of the Sciences Yearbook): 205-228. Published version / Postprint

(2015) 'Animal breeding in the age of biotechnology: the investigative pathway behind the cloning of Dolly the sheep', History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 37(3): 282-304. Published version / Postprint

(2015) ‘Genetic information in the age of DNA sequencing’, Information & Culture: A Journal of History, 50(1): 110-142. Published version / Postprint

(2012) Biology, Computing and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA, 1945-2000 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).  Publisher's catalogue entry

(2012) From the genetic to the computer program: the historicity of data and computation in the investigations on the nematode worm C. elegans (1963-1998), Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 43: 16-28. Published version / Postprint

(2012, with P. Chow-White) Bi-directional shaping and spaces of convergence: interactions between biology and computing from the first DNA sequencers to global genome databases, Science, Technology and Human Values, 37(1): 124-164. Published version / Postprint

(2011) From metaphors to practices: the introduction of information engineers into the first DNA sequence database, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 33: 71-104. Published version / Postprint

(2011) Academic and molecular matrices: a study of the transformations of connective tissue research at the University of Manchester (1947-1996), Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 42(2): 233-245. Published version open access

(2010) A new insight into Sangers development of sequencing: from proteins to DNA, 1943- 77, Journal of the History of Biology, 43(2): 265-323. Published version / Postprint

(2007) The rise and fall of the idea of genetic information (1948-2006), Genomics, Society and Policy, 2(3): 16-36. Published version open access

(2007) Mapping and sequencing information: the social context for the genomics revolution, Endeavour, 31(1): 18-23. Published version / Postprint

Topics interested in supervising

History of 20th century biomedicine, particularly: 1) History of animal or agricultural genetics; 2) Any aspect of the research career of Conrad Hal Waddington; 3) Historical or multidisciplinary studies of genomics in Asia, the US or Europe (especially France, Italy and Germany); 4) Interactions between global and local technoscience in countries traditionally considered as "peripheral", especially Southern and Eastern Europe; 5) Use of genetics and interactions between science, politics, medicine and society in the investigation of forced disappearances under totalitarian regimes and ancestry searches by "stolen babies".

If you are interested in being supervised by Miguel Garcia-Sancho, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Science and Technology Studies; MSc (R) Science and Technology Studies