Innogen · News · August 13, 2013

Wellcome Trust Grant: Animal, Machine and Me

Wellcome Trust Grant: Animal, Machine and Me

Gill Haddow receives Wellcome Trust grant to study issues of selfhood and heart technology.

If you had to make the choice, would you choose to have your organs replaced with animal or mechanical ones? Does having parts of your body replaced with materials from other sources make you feel any different?

These are some of the questions that Wellcome Trust funded research entitled, 'Animal, Machine and Me' seeks to answer.

Innogen associate and Mason Institute deputy director, Gill Haddow will attempt to answer these questions by researching three different medical treatments for heart failure; the first is how people decide whether to have the valves in their heart replaced with pig, cow or mechanical implants. The second will investigate experiences of having a heart defibrillator (which emits a shock to the heart to start it beating again) permanently fitted inside the body. Finally, an entirely artificial heart is used as a temporary 'bridging device' for people awaiting a human heart transplant; but what is stopping this technology becoming a permanent fixture?

This project explores heart technology from several points of view: from those who invent and make it - to those who receive and implant it - to those who hope to develop it. By looking at what is currently repaired and replaced we may also learn about what to expect in the future.

Dr Gill Haddow