1. ESRC Genomics Network (archive)
  2. Gengage
  3. The Human Genre Project

Cesagen · People

Dr. Katie Featherstone

Senior Lecturer


029 2087 5846






10 Museum Place


Katie's expertise is in the sociology of biomedical knowledge, with particular emphasis on the social consequences of genetic technologies. She has produced a body of ethnographic work examining:

  • Kinship and disclosure in the context of genetic risk information.
  • The classification of genetic syndromes and their social consequences.
  • The technologies of health service evaluation and clinical guidelines.
  • The diagnosis and classification of medical entities.

The recurrent theme of this work is the production and translation of biomedical knowledge and the interaction between the laboratory, the clinic, and patient populations.

Katie is a Senior Lecturer and Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research) within the School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies. Her current programme of work is in collaboration with colleagues in Cesagen and the MRC Centre in Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics to examine:

  • Current developments within neuropsychiatry and behavioural genetics and their clinical, social, and personal implications

Katie also has a long-term collaboration with colleagues in Primary Health Care, Bristol, Cardiology, Barts and the London, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College Medical School London in a programme of work to improve the diagnosis and management of angina:

  • Understanding hospital-level variation in outcomes for patients admitted for acute coronary syndrome: an ethnographic study (NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) Programme, 2011-2013)

Public engagement

I am working with colleagues in Cesagen and the MRC Centre in Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics to deliver a programme of events to promote dialogue, debate and interaction between academics and publics, with emphasis on examining the fields of neuroscience and behavioural genetics. This includes:

sciSCREEN at Chapter Arts Centre (www.Chapter.org): Using new release film to explore the social impacts of genomics. Audience members are invited to join the discussion with academics, from Cardiff University and beyond, as they relate the latest films to their areas of expertise. Featherstone leads this project and events during 2010 were attended by over 400 members of the public who participated for a total of 35 hours of engagement. The sciSCREEN blog @ www.cardiffsciscreen.blogspot.com, Facebook page and on Twitter @ www.twitter.com/sciSCREEN.

Unravelling Eve: Exploring experiences of Post-Partum Psychosis: A collaboration between artist Joan Molloy, biomedical and social scientists, and women who have experienced postpartum psychosis. Molloy will develop work that reflects upon issues of motherhood and inheritance - the beautiful complexity of the genetic science mirroring the intricacies of the social, ethical and familial implications of the illness. Funded by the Wellcome Trust (Society Award, 2011-2012).

Science Show: Part of a collaborative team led by Techniquest, a science discovery centre and outreach organization (www.techniquest.org) to deliver a show to young people presenting scientific findings in behavioural genetics to facilitate debate about the potential social, ethical and personal implications of these findings. Funded by the MRC centre, Cesagen and matched funding from the European Social Fund (ESF). As part of Reach the Heights, it will develop and deliver STEM programmes through seven regional Hubs in the convergence areas across Wales for 11 – 19 year olds who face, or who are at risk of, disadvantage or under-achievement, to improve their career opportunities (2011-2013).


Selected Publications


Featherstone K, Atkinson P. Genome and Syndrome: The Fashioning of a Genetic Syndrome. Oxford: Routledge (In press: September 2011).

Featherstone K, Atkinson P, Bharadwaj A, Clarke A.J. 2006. Risky Relations: Family and kinship in the era of new genetics. Oxford: Berg.

Journal Articles:

Somerville C, Featherstone K, Hemingway H, Timmis A, Feder G. 2010. 'Performing stable angina pectoris: an ethnographic study.' Social Science and Medicine; 66(7): 1497-1508.

Arribas-Ayllon M, Bartlett A, Featherstone K. 2010. 'Complexity and accountability: the witches' brew of psychiatric genetics.' Social Studies of Science; August 40 (4).

Arribas-Ayllon M, Featherstone K, Atkinson P. 'Subjectivity and genetics: the making and unmaking of autonomy.' Social Theory and Health (in press).

Latimer J, Featherstone K, Atkinson P, Clarke AJ, Shaw A. 2006. 'Rebirthing the clinic: the interaction of clinical judgement and molecular technology in the production of genetic science.' Science, Technology and Human Values; 31: 599-630.

Featherstone K, Latimer J, Atkinson P, Pilz D, Clarke AJ. 2005. 'Dysmorphology and the spectacle of the clinic.' Sociology of Health and Illness; 27(5): 551-574.

Clarke A, Richards M, Kerzin-storrar L, Halliday J, Young M.A., Simpson S, Featherstone K, Forrest K. 2005. 'Genetic professionals’ report of non-disclosure of genetic risk information within families.' European Journal of Human Genetics; 13: 556-562.

Shaw A, Latimer J, Atkinson P, Featherstone K. 2003. 'Surveying slides: Clinical perception and clinical judgement in the construction of a genetic diagnosis.' New Genetics and Society; 22(1): 3-19.

Book Chapters:

Featherstone K, Gregory M, Atkinson P. 2006. The moral and sentimental work of the clinic: the case of dysmorphology. In Paul Atkinson, Peter Glasner and Helen Greenslade (eds), New Genetics, New Identities. London: Routledge.