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

Egenis · People

Dr. Alison Kraft

Egenis Research Fellow


01392 725136


01392 724676






Byrne House


Dr Kraft is an historian of science, technology and medicine. Her research has focused on the life sciences in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the evolving relationship between biology, medicine and physics since the Second World War, and the emergence and commercialisation of various medical technologies. Since 2004, her work has centred on the history of the blood stem cell and its various applications in the contemporary clinical setting. In the course of this work, she has developed a strong interest in STS approaches to contemporary developments in the life sciences. Over the past five years Dr Kraft has developed various courses for history undergraduates on the ‘Nuclear Age’ and the ‘Biotechnology Revolution’. With colleagues in Nottingham she also developed an STS course for postgraduate students.


Kraft, A., ‘New light through an old window? The “translational turn” in biomedical research – a historical perspective’, in: Mittra, J. and Milne, C. [eds] Translational medicine. The future of therapy? (Forthcoming, 2012)

Kraft, A., ‘Converging histories/reconsidered potentialities: the stem cell and cancer’. Biosocieties, 2011, 6 (2), pp. 195-216.

Kraft, A., ‘Manhattan transfer: Lethal radiation, bone marrow transplantation and the birth of stem cell biology, 1945-1961’. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 2009, 39(2), pp. 171-218.

Kraft, A., ‘Atomic medicine’. History Today, November 2009, 59(11), pp. 26-33.

Kraft, A., Brown, N. and Martin, P., ‘From bedside to bench? Communities of promise, translational research and the making of blood stem cells’. Science as Culture, 2008, 17(1), pp. 29-41.

Kraft, A. and Rothman, H., ‘Genomics-based innovation: Visions and reality’. International Journal of Biotechnology, 2008, 10(5), pp. 441-460.

Kraft, A., ‘Between medicine and industry: The rise of the radioisotope 1945-1965’. Contemporary British History, 2006, 20(1), pp. 3-37.

Kraft, A. and Brown, N., ‘Blood ties: Banking the stem cell promise’. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 2006, 18(3), pp. 313-327.

Kraft, A., Brown, N. and Martin, P., ‘The promissory past of blood cells’. Biosocieties, 2006, 1(3), pp. 329-348.

Kraft, A. and Rothman, H., ‘Downstream and into deep biology: evolving business models in “top tier” genomics companies’. J. Commercial Biotechnology, 2006, 12(2), pp. 86-98.

Kraft, A., ‘Pragmatism, patronage and politics in English biology: The rise and fall of Economic Biology 1904-1920’. Journal of the History of Biology, 2004 37(2), pp. 213-258.

Kraft, A. and Jones, G., ‘Corporate venturing: The origins of Unilever’s pregnancy test’. Business History, 2004, 46(1), pp. 100-122.

Kraft, A. and Alberti, S.J.M.M., ‘“Equal though different”’: Laboratories, museums and the institutional development of biology in late-Victorian Northern England’. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 2003, 34(2), pp. 203-236.

Research Interests

Alison is currently completing a book on the history of the blood stem cell. It highlights the importance of this stem cell population for the development of the field now known as stem cell biology. The book then develops a biography of the blood stem cell, from its conceptual origins in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, to its emergence as a subject of experimental investigation within post-war radiobiology and, from the late 1950s onwards, its clinical use in bone marrow transplantation as a treatment for leukaemia. Later chapters examine more recent developments, including the ongoing debates about the identity of this stem cell, its biological potential and its place in the concept of the cancer stem cell.

At Egenis, Alison will work with Dr Christine Hauskeller to develop research projects around their shared interests in stem cell innovation.

Together with colleagues in Vienna and Sheffield, Alison is currently developing a new area of research centred on the history of the Pugwash movement and on questions about the role of scientists as activists and the evolving relationship between science and the state during the early Cold War. Here she is focusing on the role of scientists in the controversy about radioactive fallout from nuclear bomb testing during the 1950s and how this was one starting point for a new global environmental consciousness. An important first step in this project was an international conference, Writing Pugwash Histories. From Hiroshima and Nagasaki to Kabul and Gaza, held at the University of Vienna in May 2012, for which the final report is now available.