School of Social and Political Science

James Lowe

Job Title

Senior Research Fellow

Photo
James Lowe's photo

Room number

2.92

Building (Address)

Old Surgeons' Hall

Street (Address)

High School Yards

City (Address)

Edinburgh

Country (Address)

UK

Post code (Address)

EH1 1LZ

Background

After completing my undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences in 2006, I worked in education and the pharmaceutical industry. In 2009, I developed my interest in the historical and conceptual aspects of biology by completing an MA in History and Philosophy of Biology at the University of Exeter.

My PhD research concerned the American biologist Edmund Beecher Wilson (1856-1939) and the role of normal development in his early work in experimental embryology. I have presented on Wilson and on normal development and its role in experimental systems in biology, and have published articles based on this research which examines the place and significance of biological variation in current scientific questions, methods and theory.

From October 2015 to July 2016 I worked on a project concerning in vivo skills in animal research, funded by the British Pharmacological Society and based at the University of Exeter. I was the lead author of the report produced as a result of this project. Building on my interest in scientific practice, I am currently interested in translational research, and this forms a key part of the new project I am working on here at University of Edinburgh, on the history of the pig genome mapping and sequencing initiatives:

Medical translation in the history of modern genomics (TRANSGENE)

The translation of basic biomedical research into clinical practice has become a central concern for science policy. Policies to foster translation are being applied to large amounts of genomic information available in open-access databases. This information is the result of concerted initiatives that, in the early 2000s, determined the full genetic sequence that characterises humans and other organisms. However, when the initiatives started the goal of determining the full sequence and making the resulting information available was not universally supported. The TRANSGENE project will investigate how and why this objective of completing the sequence was adopted in preference to other models that prioritised the usability of the data. Combining archival research with interviews and insights from social studies of science and Innovation Studies, my focus is on the projects to map and then sequence the genome of the domesticated pig, Sus scrofa domesticus.

Principal investigator: Miguel García-Sancho
Funded by the European Research Council

Publications

Books

Under contract with Palgrave Macmillan, to be jointly-authored with Miguel García-Sancho: ‘A History of Genomics across Species and Projects’

Journal Articles

Revision submitted and under review: (jointly edited with Miguel García-Sancho, including six papers with multiple co-authors) Special issue, “The sequences and the sequencers: a new approach to investigate the emergence of yeast, human and pig genomics”. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences.

Revision submitted and under review: “Adjusting to precarity: how and why the Roslin Institute forged a leading role for itself in international networks of pig genomics research”. British Journal for the History of Science.

Submitted, awaiting review: (second author; with Ann Bruce) “Pigs and Chips: the making of a biotechnology innovation ecosystem”. New Biotechnology.

Submitted, awaiting review: “Humanising and dehumanising pigs in genomic and xenotransplantation research”; for inclusion in a special issue of History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.

2020: (first author; with Sabina Leonelli and Gail Davies) “Training to Translate: Understanding and Informing Translational Animal Research in Pre-Clinical Pharmacology”. Tecnoscienza, Vol. 10 No. 2: 5-30. [Open-access copy]

2019: (first author; with Ann Bruce) “Genetics without genes? The centrality of genetic markers in livestock genetics and genomics”. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Vol. 41: article 50. [Open-access copy]

2018: “Sequencing through thick and thin: Historiographical and philosophical implications”. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, online access. [Pre-proof copy]

2018: Book review: ‘STEPHEN HILGARTNER, Reordering Life: Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution’. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, Vol. 40 No. 1: 5. [Pre-proof copy]

2016: "Normal development and experimental embryology: Edmund Beecher Wilson and Amphioxus". Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Vol. 57: 44-59. [Pre-proof copy]

2015: "Managing variation in the investigation of organismal development: problems and opportunities". History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s40656-015-0089-3. [Pre-proof copy]

2015: "Book review: 'Science in the twentieth century and beyond' by Jon Agar". New Genetics and Society, Vol. 34 No. 3: 338-340.

Reports

2017: (third author; with Miguel García-Sancho and Dmitriy Myelnikov) “The Invisible History of the Visible Sheep: How a Look at the Past may Broaden our View of the Legacy of Dolly”. [pdf copy]

December 2016: (with Collis M, Davies G, Leonelli S, Lewis DI and Zecharia AY) "An evaluation of the Integrative Pharmacology Fund: Lessons for the future of in vivo education and training". London, UK: British Pharmacological Society. [Online copy]

Encyclopaedia Articles

2018–present: Founding editor and contributor to ‘Genomics in Context’.

2016: "Human Genome Project as a Social Enterprise". In: eLS [Encyclopaedia of the Life Sciences]. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005650.pub2 http://www.els.net/WileyCDA/ElsArticle/refId-a0005650.html .

2015: "‘Amphioxus, and the Mosaic Theory of Development’ (1893), by Edmund Beecher Wilson". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2015-03-31). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/8312.

2014: "‘Experimental Studies on Germinal Localization’ (1904), by Edmund B. Wilson". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2014-12-22). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/8272.

Research interests

Research interests

Genomics, History of science, History of biological sciences, Variation, Translation, Biotechnology, Philosophy of science, Philosophy of biology, Animal research, Biology and agriculture, Scientific practice

Topics interested in supervising

History of genetics, history of genomics, history of embryology/developmental biology, history of biology, philosophical aspects and implications of genetics/genomics, philosophy of science in practice.

If you are interested in being supervised by James Lowe, please see the links below (opening in new windows) for more information:

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Lowe JWE. Adjusting to precarity: How and why the Roslin Institute forged a leading role for itself in international networks of pig genomics research. British Journal for the History of Science. 2021 Oct 12. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007087421000686
Leng R, Viry G, Garcia Sancho Sanchez M, Lowe J, Wong M, Vermeulen N. The sequences and the sequencers: What can a mixed-methods approach reveal about the history of genomics? Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 2021 Apr 11.
Garcia Sancho Sanchez M, Leng R, Viry G, Wong M, Vermeulen N, Lowe J. The Human Genome Project as an exceptional episode in the history of genomics. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 2021 Apr 11.
Garcia Sancho Sanchez M, Lowe J, Viry G, Leng R, Wong M, Vermeulen N. Yeast sequencing: 'Network' genomics and institutional bridges. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 2021 Apr 11.
Lowe J, Garcia Sancho Sanchez M, Leng R, Wong M, Vermeulen N, Viry G. Across and within networks: Thickening the longue-durée history of genomics. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences. 2021 Apr 11.
Lowe J, Leonelli S, Davies G. Training to translate: Understanding and informing translational animal research in pre-clinical pharmacology. Tecnoscienza. 2020 Jan 30;10(2):5-30.
Lowe JWE, Bruce A. Genetics without genes? The centrality of genetic markers in livestock genetics and genomics. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 2019 Dec 31;41(4):1-29. 50. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40656-019-0290-x
Lowe J. Sequencing through thick and thin: Historiographical and philosophical implications. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 2018 Dec;72:10-27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2018.10.007
Lowe J. STEPHEN HILGARTNER, Reordering Life: Knowledge and Control in the Genomics Revolution, Cambridge Massachusetts, The MIT Press, 2017, xiv + 343 pp., May 2017. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences. 2017 Nov 16;40(1):1-4. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40656-017-0171-0
Garcia Sancho Sanchez M, Myelnikov D, Lowe J. The Invisible History of the Visible Sheep: How a Look at the Past may Broaden our View of the Legacy of Dolly. Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC, UK), 2017. 20 p.
Lowe J, Collis M, Davies G, Leonelli S, Lewis D, Zecharia A. An evaluation of the Integrative Pharmacology Fund: Lessons for the future of in vivo education and training. London, UK: British Pharmacological Society, 2016. 40 p.