Flavio D'Abramo

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)


Flavio D’Abramo obtained his doctorate at the Sapienza University in Rome during which he conducted fieldwork at the Imperial College London (School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics). Since then, he has collaborated with the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS) and was a visiting scholar at the Ruhr-University Bochum (Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine). He was also a Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellow at the Free University of Berlin with fieldwork undertaken at the Charité University hospital.

His research combines history, philosophy, and sociology of science to analyze the origins of biomolecular, genetic, and epigenetic models. Furthermore, he studies the application of these models to developing biomedical technologies under the guiding policies of national and international agencies and the cultural patterns influencing scientific production within healthcare systems.

Flavio’s current research at the MPIWG examines the historical, geopolitical, and economic factors impacting different scientific models that have been developed to consider organisms’ biological changes in relation to different kinds of environmental stresses (such as changes in temperature, photoperiod, or diet; exposure to X-rays; and relationship to a specific social group or class). The different scales (temporal and spatial) and values within the models are of particular interest. His research also focuses on the explanations used by scientists and scientific institutions to facilitate a transdisciplinary debate that considers scientific uncertainties related to key notions such as susceptibility, toxicity, and risk. His long durée approach to historical phenomena allows him to highlight the role of biological and medical institutions in a grand narrative within the contemporary debate surrounding the Anthropocene. 


IV. Knowledge in and of the Anthropocene


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Selected Publications

Yarborough, M., Bredenoord, A., D'Abramo, F., Joyce, N. C., Kimmelman, J., Ogbogu, U., Sena, E., Strech, D., & Dirnagl, U. (2018). The Bench is Closer to the Bedside than we Think: Uncovering the Ethical Ties between Preclinical Researchers in…

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D'Abramo, F., & Landecker, H. (2019). Anthropocene in the Cell. Technosphere Magazine, (20.3.2019), 1-7.

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Rispoli, G., & D'Abramo, F. (2019). Ivan I. Schmalhausen (1884–1963). In L. Nuño de la Rosa, & G. B. Müller (Eds.), Evolutionary Developmental Biology: A Reference Guide (pp. 1-13). Cham: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-33038-9.

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D'Abramo, F. (2018). An Appraisal of the Biological Sublime Between Eugenics, Epigenetics and the Political Economy of Life Sciences. Azimuth, 12(VI), 129-145.

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Anthropocene and Public Health


Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

“Biological Timescales in the Anthropocene”

Technische Universität Berlin, Department for the History of Technology

“The Cultural and Political Origins of Biology” (BA course)

Bard College Berlin, A Liberal Arts University

“The Ecological Dimension of Anthropocene and its Impact on Public Health”

Tel Aviv University, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas

“Anthropocene and the Systemic Dimension of Biological Functions: The case of Epigenetics, Horizontal Gene Transfer and Antibiotic Resistance”

43rd conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), New Orleans

“Social epigenetics” (panel organized with Jodi Halpern and Mark Yarborough)

The Ettore Majorana Foundation and Centre for Scientific Culture, Erice (Italy)

“The political load of the mismatch model”

42nd conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S), Sydney

“Contextualising epigenetics. Sociohistorical remarks”
Epigenetics: Innovation of Memory? Life Science Paradigms as Challenge and Opportunity for Historians 

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

“The neoliberal turn of epigenetics”
The Politics of Plasticity: On Solidarity and Mutual Aid

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Philosophy, Prague


“Biotechnologies for present and future generations”
CRI Research Seminar

Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (CRI), Paris

“Big data for biomedical research, a democratic endeavour? The case of biobanking”
Internal Workshop

University of Campinas, Institute of Geosciences, Group for S&TS, Campinas

“Can the Biomedical Enterprise be a Public and Democratic Endeavour? The Case of Biobank Research”
Science and Democracy Network, 16th Annual Meeting

Harvard Law School, Cambridge (MA)