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Seminar with Hugo Ferpozzi: Genomic research and the shaping of neglected diseases. The political and scientific becoming of Chagas disease and the shortcomings of scientific openness in peripheral contexts


On December 21st 2016, the SPIRAL organized a research seminar with Hugo Ferpozzi (Centre for science, technology and society / CONICET / University of Buenos Aires).

Hugo presented his PhD dissertation. The title of his presentation was as follows: "Genomic research and the shaping of neglected diseases. The political and scientific becoming of Chagas disease and the shortcomings of scientific openness in peripheral contexts"

His dissertation examined the recent constitution of Chagas disease as a scientific, political, and public health issue. Its aim has been to understand how genomics and biomedical research shape the disease as a public problem, as well as how representations and discourses in the political sphere become part of the configuration of Chagas disease research. This is to ask, in other words: to what extent and by which means do genomics and biomedicine operate in the definition of the problem? What is the influence of political views over the establishment of research agendas intended to fight neglected diseases in this region? What spheres other than science become involved in defining the disease?

The research topic lies within the field of Latin American social studies of science, and it is concerned with the scientific and political becoming of Chagas  during the past two decades. This time frame has been relatively less explored in the literature which addresses the history of the disease, and it can be characterised by the emergence of new stakeholders (global health organisations dedicated to fighting neglected diseases); new scientific representations of Chagas (genomic initiatives); and new ideas about its epidemiology and target groups (reaching developed countries and traditionally non-endemic regions).

 

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