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

Egenis · People

Dr. Alexander Powell

Research Student - completed


BSc (Bristol); MSc (Sussex); PhD (Exeter)




Prior to studying at Exeter (2005-2009), Alex Powell spent 15 years working as a technologist in science publishing (Elsevier Science; Oxford University Press) and as a software systems developer at the UK Parliament. His first degree was in Biochemistry and his MSc was in Knowledge-Based Systems. He is currently an information systems consultant and is writing a book on programming.


Powell, A., ‘Biological Mechanisms: A Case Study in Conceptual Plasticity’. Forthcoming in: Davies and Michelini (eds.), Frontiere della biologia. Prospettive filosofiche sulle scienze della vita (Mimesis, Milano). (Preprint available: email Alex if interested.)

Powell, A. and Dupré, J., ‘From molecules to systems: the importance of looking both ways.’ Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C (Biological and Biomedical Sciences), 40(1), 2009, pp 54-64. (doi:10.1016/j.shpsc.2008.12.007)

O'Malley, M.A., Powell, A., Davies, J. and Calvert, J., ‘Knowledge-making distinctions in synthetic biology.’ BioEssays 30(1), 2008, pp 57–65.

Powell, A., O'Malley, M.A., Müller-Wille, S., Calvert, J. and Dupré, J., ‘Disciplinary baptisms: A comparison of the naming stories of genetics, molecular biology, genomics and systems biology.’ History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, 29(1), 2007, pp 5–32.

Research Interests

In his PhD thesis Molecules, Cells and Minds: Aspects of Bioscientific Explanation (passed at viva with no corrections) Alex examines aspects of recent molecular and cell biology from a cognitive standpoint in order to shed light on topics pertaining to the philosophical themes of explanation and understanding. These topics include the concepts of mechanism, complexity and emergence.