Home / Events / STS Colloquium: Koichi Mikami - Constructing Research Communities: Regenerative Medicine in UK and Japan

STS Colloquium: Koichi Mikami - Constructing Research Communities: Regenerative Medicine in UK and Japan

When Feb 24, 2011
from 04:10 PM to 06:00 PM
Where SSH 1246
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Science & Technology Studies Colloquium
co-sponsored by the Center for Science & Innovation Studies
Thursday, Feb 24, 4-6pm, SSH 1246

The room is 1246 SSH (aka Deathstar), easiest way to find it is to enter the parking lot between Young & SSH off A St. At the end of the parking lot turn right and walk between two buildings. Off to your left is a sliding glass door. 1246 is inside to your left.

Koichi Mikami, Department of Evolutionary Studies of Biosystems, Sokendai, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies in Hayama, Japan

Constructing Research Communities: Regenerative Medicine in the UK and Japan

In the UK and Japan, regenerative medicine is recognized as one of the most important fields of scientific research in the 21st century. Apart from its therapeutic implications, its scientific significance and economic potential are the primary motivations for these two countries to advance this field in the competitive world. However, the nature of regenerative medicine is still unsettled (flexible or plastic), and there exist different framings of this technology. Reflecting its socio-political environment, regenerative medicine in the two countries exhibits distinctive trajectories, and its research communities are constructed so as to legitimize such trajectories. Although the legitimization may make the technology less ambiguous (i.e. less plastic), it becomes more difficult for individuals to join (and leave) the community as the boundary of the research community gets firmly drawn. Based on interviews with scientists, business people, and the public officers, this talk examines how the research communities of regenerative medicine are constructed in the two countries. Second, focusing on the Japanese case, it examines the role of standardization in re-drawing community boundaries.

Shonan Village, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0193, Japan

BA in Economics (Waseda University, Japan)
MSc in Management Research (University of Oxford, UK)
MSc in Sociology (London School of Economics, UK)
DPhil from Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) at Oxford

Koichi is interested in the cultural interactions between body and technology. In his MSc dissertations, he looked at the social implications of consumption and bone-marrow donation, and in his PhD thesis he analyzed the research environments of the interdisciplinary field called tissue engineering in the UK and Japan. In this comparative study, he argued that the two countries have the distinctive visions of the future of tissue engineering, and demonstrated that to make such visions credible the researchers and other agents refer to and link the technology to various social conditions, such as healthcare systems and regulations. Based on the findings of his PhD research, he is starting a new study on regenerative medicine in Japan, with a particular focus on the plans of standardization and industrialization. This study concerns the transfer of the technology from the academic context to the business context. He plans to use the notion of network to reveal the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of social elements of regenerative medicine in the process of this transfer.

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