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Remaking the Human Body

 

“Remaking the Human Body: Biomedical Imaging Technologies, Professional and Lay Visions” is a project designed to investigate the relationship between biomedical imaging technologies and professional and lay visions.

Images of bodies, internal organs and cells are common in medical practice. The development and diffusion of biomedical imaging technologies allows medical professionals to explore the human body in new ways. Biomedical staff undergo training in order to develop the skills required to interpret images of the inner body. These images can also be used when communicating with patients, and they can then travel through the social world thus contributing to a changing understanding of what the body is and how it works. However, the relationships between these new visual tools and the professional and lay visions remains underexplored.

The project investigates the use of imaging technologies during IVF, as clinics often allow patients to see images of embryos at very early stages of development. These images and videos can then be taken home and shared with family and friends, and in some cases they can also end up in the public sphere. The aim of this research project includes an exploration of how biomedical images are received by the patients and caregivers involved. The team will be looking at the artefacts that produce the images, and at how the images are used in medical practice. The underlying questions are designed to help us develop an understanding of how these images are involved in changing conceptions of the human body.

The project is headed up by Dr Manuela Perrotta, Lecturer in Technology and Organisation at QMUL’s School of Business and Management, and is being funded through the Wellcome Trust's Investigator Award in Medical Humanities/Society and Ethics.

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