Dr. Sabina Leonelli (Exeter/ UK): Data Integration, Model Organisms and Translational Research.
Data integration, particularly through digital infrastructures, plays a central role in contemporary biological and biomedical research. I discuss three cases of knowledge production in plant science, each of which highlights a different mode of integration.
1) Inter-level integration involves data on different features of the same species, aims to acquire an interdisciplinary understanding of organisms as complex wholes, and is exemplified by research on Arabidopsis thaliana.
2) Cross-species integration involves data acquired from different species, aims to understand plant biology in all its different manifestations and is exemplified by research on Miscanthus giganteus.
3) Translational integration involves data acquired from a variety of sources, aims at interventions to improve human health and is exemplified by research on Phytophtora ramorum. The differences and relations between these modes of integration illuminate the mechanics and challenges of making data not only accessible online but also useful to a scientific community, as well as the extensive conceptual and material scaffolding needed to transform these data into scientific knowledge, and the different forms of scientific knowledge that may result, depending on which communities, infrastructures, and institutions are involved in the research. My analysis also underscores the importance of considering the whole spectrum of scientific activities, including so-called 'applied' research, when discussing scientific epistemology, and the relevance of plant research and green biotechnology to human health and medicine, which is often underestimated by scholars in science and technology studies.
when? January 30, 2014. 4-6 p.m.
where? room K026 (Historicum/ LMU)