BIOS is an international centre for research and policy on social aspects of the life sciences and biomedicine. Our ethos is one of empirically grounded and conceptually sophisticated research, conducted in close relation with life scientists, clinicians and policy makers. Our work addresses issues of justice, power and inequality, of geopolitics and of social and individual identity.
Current major research projects focus on reproductive technology, regenerative medicine, social aspects of the neurosciences, biosecurity, synthetic biology, translational biology and bioethics. We run an innovative Masters programme in Biomedicine and Society attracting students from backgrounds in many disciplines in the social and life sciences.
The BIOS community of over 40 researchers includes a large number of doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, research staff, visiting fellows and professors and associated faculty. All those who are interested in these issues are welcome to join our mailing list, and attend our many events, including a regular seminar series, public lectures, workshops and conferences.
Biomedicine and biotechnology are changing our world, our lives, and ourselves
The LSE’s BIOS Centre harnesses the interdisciplinary resources of the world’s leading social science university to address the challenges posed by developments in the life sciences and biomedicine.
Developments in the life sciences and biomedicine are:
- Increasing our ability to control our own biology – our bodies and our brains
- Enabling us to create novel life forms and forms of life
- Changing our ideas of ‘normality’ and ‘abnormality’
- Transforming our understanding of personal identity, family relations, ancestry and ‘race’
- Altering our social and personal expectations and responsibilities
- Reshaping global economic opportunities and impacting on global inequalities
- Creating new national and international security challenges
- Creating new social, ethical, legal and regulatory dilemmas.
- To work with life scientists, clinicians and policy makers at all stages from basic research to applications and regulation
- To produce empirically grounded, conceptually rich and policy relevant research
- To analyse the social, ethical and clinical challenges faced by patients, politicians, professionals and regulators to help create best practice
- To promote collaboration between social scientists, life scientists, clinicians and policy makers
- To develop evidence-based approaches to the governance of biomedicine and the life sciences
- To build capacity world-wide in the social study of the life sciences by training masters and research students and collaborating with researchers from across the world
- To develop the methodologies to understand the new relations between the life sciences and society – locally, nationally and globally
- To build public engagement with the dilemmas posed by our ability to control our biology.
Our key research areas are:
- New reproductive technologies, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies
- The new sciences of brain and mind and the implications of new psychiatric drugs, brain imaging and neurotechnologies for the control of behaviour in children and adults
- The social life of genomics – personalised genomics and predictive genetic testing for common disorders
- The social, political, economic and ethical dimensions of synthetic biology and issues of regulation, commercialisation, public engagement and trust.
- Biosecurity – the new practices of identification based on biometrics and predictive profiling and the security challenges posed by synthetic biology
- The governance of the global bioeconomy and its implications for global justice
- Biopolitics and the transformation of ideas of citizenship and identity.
Who we work with – some examples
- Nuffield Council on Bioethics
- Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
- Wellcome Trust
- Medical Research Council
- National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
- UK Stem Cell Bank
- European Neuroscience and Society Network
- Norwegian Committee on Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Genomics (ELSA)
- British Medical Association Medical Ethics Committee
- European Neuroscience and Society Network (ENSN)
- Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)
- Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
The first working paper, Will biomedicine transform society?: The Political, Economic, Social, and Personal impact of Medical Advances in the Twenty-first Century’, was also delivered as a lecture in February 2005. The audio is available using the player below.