Innogen · Research · Current projects
Making Genomic Medicine

Steve Sturdy

Funding: Wellcome Trust ref 100597/Z/12/Z

September 1 2013 – August 31 2017


Genomic medicine emerged around the turn of the 21st century as a site of particularly intense activity in biomedical research and policy-making, prompted in large part by the expectation that developments in genomic science and technology would effect an epochal transformation in healthcare. The goal of this project is to locate these developments in historical perspective, by producing a comprehensive account of the socio-technical process that resulted in the current ferment of activity around genomic medicine.

Research to date has indicated that the story is an exceptionally interesting and important one, dating back to at least the 1970s, and involving not just dramatic developments in medical science and technology, but also shifts in the orientation of public health policy, changes in the organisation and funding of clinical science and medicine, the emergence of new pharmaceutical business models, changes in the regulatory environment for biomedicine, and the growing influence of patient groups.

Research into these processes will pursue three inter-connected strands of historical analysis: making genomic risk; genomicising drug discovery and development; and the rise of rare diseases. By analysing the scientific and social factors that led to the emergence of genomic medicine, the aim of this project is to frame and inform current debates about the future of biomedicine.