Chemical testing standards. The main (dissertation) project I'm working on is tentatively titled “Making Standard Knowledge and Knowledge for Standards: Regulating Chemical Risks and International Trade, 1970-2010.” This research sits at the intersection of environment, science, and international trade. I follow a set of standards known as Good Laboratory Practice (GLP), developed in the 1970s at the US FDA and EPA in response to evidence of fraud in toxicology labs, to ensure the integrity of the data used to evaluate chemical products. GLP rules were then adopted in 1981 by the 24 nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to facilitate international trade. Drawing on archival sources and oral history interviews, I examine how this regulatory framework has both enabled and constrained government efforts to control chemicals. To learn more about this work, watch my short Harvard Horizons talk, "Toxic Rules? Evidence Standards for Regulating Chemicals."

Carbon dioxide and clean air. I am collaborating with Naomi Oreskes and Hannah Conway on a project that examines the history of the 1970 U.S. Clean Air Act and research on air pollution, including carbon dioxide. 

Testing chemicals at the National Cancer Institute. This work-in-progress—“Managing a ‘Moon Shot’ for Cancer: Contract Research and Chemical Testing at the National Cancer Institute”—examines how Cold War research management methods shaped health research through an analysis of the Carcinogenesis Study Program at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) between 1962-1984. Established in 1962, the program was part of a broader effort to understand cancer mechanisms and prevention by testing chemicals for carcinogenic effects. In applying systems analysis methods to this program, the NCI modified its methods of adjudicating carcinogenic risk. In so doing, it constrained the direction of research pursued, and its rigidity imposed an ontology of evidence to which bioassay results would not conform.