Ian is a cultural anthropologist and research associate at the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at Harvard University. He specializes in contemporary Middle Eastern societies, with a focus on the relationships between biology and national identity.
Ian earned a B.A. in biochemistry and Cell Biology from Trinity College Dublin (2007); he has a PhD in molecular neuroscience from the University of Cambridge (2010); and he received masters degrees in cultural- and social anthropology from the University of Chicago (2013) and Harvard University (2015). He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in ‘Science and Democracy’ at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University in 2015-2016, and he has been a fellow and affiliate of Harvard’s Program on Science, Technology, and Society, since 2013. He is currently simultaneously a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology at Harvard, earning a secondary field in STS. His dissertation focuses on biobanking and ethnic genetics in Israel and Qatar, and discusses the consequences of precision medicine initiatives on ethnic and national identity and discourses over rights to citizenship.
Ian has published over a dozen original research articles in top journals, such as: Times of Israel; Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology; the Journal of Law and the Biosciences (including the highest impact and most-read article); Anthropology Today (cover feature); Journal of Neuroscience; Biophysical Journal; ACS Chemical Neuroscience; and Biochemistry. He published three opinion editorials in Genetics Research discussing some of the ethical issues relating to biobanking and precision medicine projects. He has acted as a bioethics consultant for the Wellcome Trust sponsored Bioethics Literature project, for which he wrote three afterward responses in the Comma Press’ anthology of science fiction writing Bio-Punk: Stories from the Far Side of Research. He has co-organized two interdisciplinary symposia at Harvard University that discussed the ways in which advances in genomic technologies are transforming human identities, titled ‘Science, Ethnicity, Identity’ (2014), and ‘The Molecularization of Identity: Science and Subjectivity in the 21st Century’ (2016).
His new project is a cultural study of wine production in the West Bank area of Israel/Palestine, where wine science is entangled with a historical imagination of indigeneity that naturalizes Jewish presence on this highly contested territory.