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 end of the 20th century: biotechnology, bioinformatics and genomics. He is now a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation Studies of the University of Edinburgh.
His research focuses on the history of concerted DNA mapping and sequencing initiatives, with special attention to the human and other large-scale genome projects that proliferated in the 1980s and 90s. He has concluded a 5-year project entitled Medical Translation in the History of Modern Genomics, with funding from the European Research Council. As a result of this, he published a special journal issue on the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in history of science and has an upcoming research monograph entitled A History of Genomics across Species, Communities and Projects.
He has also investigated the emergence of agricultural biotechnology and the cloning of Dolly the sheep. His earlier book Biology, Computing and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA was published by Palgrave-Macmillan (2012, paperback edition in 2015). He previously worked as a journalist and is interested in science communication and public engagement.
See my latest publications and research projects here.
Within the history of science, technology and medicine my research interests include:
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).
Medical Translation in the History of Modern Genomics
Starting Grant, European Research Council (ERC). 1.5 million euros.
Historicising Dolly: An Edinburgh-centred case study of the emergence of animal biotechnology
UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and University of Edinburgh. £200,000.
- See published transcript of a Collective Memory Event that gathered the joint recollections of the scientists and stakeholders involved in the cloning of Dolly the sheep.
- See project's final report.
(Upcoming, with J.W.E. Lowe) A History of Genomics across Species, Communities and Projects (Palgrave Macmillan). Open access research monograph.
(2022, ed. with J.W.E. Lowe) "The Sequences and the Sequencers: A New Approach to Investigating the Emergence of Yeast, Human, and Pig Genomics", special issue in Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (volume 52, issue 3) with five constitutive papers:
- Leng R., Viry G, García-Sancho M., Lowe J.W.E., Wong M. and Vermeulen N. (2022) "The Sequences and the Sequencers: What Can a Mixed-Methods Approach Reveal about the History of Genomics?", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 277–319. Open access.
- García-Sancho M., Leng R., Viry G, Wong M., Vermeulen N. and Lowe J.W.E (2022) "The Human Genome Project as a Singular Episode in the History of Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 320–360. Open access.
- García-Sancho M., Lowe J.W.E, Viry G, Leng R., Wong M. and Vermeulen N. (2022) "Yeast Sequencing: 'Network' Genomics and Institutional Bridges", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 361–400. Open access.
- Lowe J.W.E, Leng R., Viry G, Wong M., Vermeulen N. and García-Sancho M. (2022) "The Bricolage of Pig Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 401–442. Open access.
- Lowe J.W.E, García-Sancho M., Leng R., Wong M., Vermeulen N. and Viry G. (2022) "Across and within Networks: Thickening the History of Genomics", Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 52 (3): 443–475. Open access.
(2019, with D. Myelnikov) 'Between mice and sheep: biotechnology, agricultural science and animal models in late-twentieth century Edinburgh,' Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 75: 24-33. Published version / Postprint
(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 open access
(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) Mapping and sequencing information: the social context for the genomics revolution, Endeavour, 31(1): 18-23. Published version / Postprint
(2006) The rise and fall of the idea of genetic information (1948-2006), Genomics, Society and Policy, 2(3): 16-36. Published version open access
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".
Find out more about the programmes that I am involved with (opening in new windows):
Current PhD students
Co-supervisor of Cristina Moreno: Antimicrobial resistance protocols. Governance, hospital infrastructures and care practices in democratic Spain - 1970s-present (with Lukas Engelmann)
Co-supervisor of Jarmo de Vries: The influence of genomic medicine on clinical work and expertise (with Steve Sturdy and James Lowe)
Completed PhD students
Second supervisor of Jose Gomez: Time, Expectations and the Future in Action in Ecuador's Yachay (completed in 2020; first supervisor, Robin Williams)