Sophia Roosth is an assistant professor in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the 20th- and 21st-century life sciences, examining how biology is changing at a moment when researchers build new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works.
During the fellowship year, Roosth is completing her first book, an ethnographic account of synthetic biology titled “Synthetic: How Life Got Made.” In this work, Roosth asks what happens to “life” as a conceptual category when experimentation and fabrication converge. Grounded in an ethnographic study of synthetic biologists, she documents the social, cultural, rhetorical, taxonomic, economic, and imaginative transformations biology has undergone in the post-genomic age.
Roosth was previously a postdoctoral fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. She received her doctorate from the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010. Roosth’s research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. Her recent publications have appeared in journals including American Anthropologist, Critical Inquiry, Differences, Representations, and Science in Context.