Colleen Lanier-Christensen

Colleen Lanier-Christensen

Lanier Photo

Research Interests: History of public health; environmental history; science, technology, and society; science policy; history of biology and biotechnology.

Colleen Lanier-Christensen is a PhD candidate in the History of Science Department working at the intersection of history of science, science and technology studies, and public health. Her work focuses on the governance of environmental and health risks, including chemicals and medical technologies. In her dissertation, Colleen traces the history of chemical testing standards from the 1970s to the present, examining how regulators have worked to make toxicity testing amendable to administrative bureaucracy and the consequences for how they know and regulate chemical risks. This research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, and the Science History Institute. In 2020, Colleen was selected to be a Harvard Horizons Scholar.

Prior to beginning her doctoral work, Colleen earned an MPH from the Department of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, with a certificate in Environmental Health Policy.

Forthcoming Publication:

“Creating Regulatory Harmony: The Participatory Politics of OECD Chemical Testing Standards in the Making,” Science, Technology, & Human Values (forthcoming in special issue “Beyond the Production of Ignorance: The Pervasiveness of Industry Influence in the Tools and Policies of Chemical Regulation”)

Papers Presented:

Toxic Rules? Evidence Standards for Regulating Chemicals,” Harvard Horizons talk (postponed from April 2020; virtual, June 2021)

“Undue Influence? Industrial Opposition and Public Participation in Environmental Health Standard-Setting,” American Association for the History of Medicine (virtual, May 2021)

“Chemical Harmonies: The Politics of Standardized Practices and Controls,” Harvard University STS Circle (virtual, March 2021)

“Toxicological Trade Barriers: Governing Chemicals at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development,” Stockholm University Department of Environmental Science (virtual, March 2021)

“Hacking Diabetes: Patient Activism, Open Source Medicine, and DIY Insulin Pumps,” Society for Social Studies of Science (virtual, August 2020)

“What Congress Knew about Carbon Dioxide and Climate When They Wrote the 1970 Clean Air Act,” American Historical Association (New York, NY, January 2020)

“The Promise of Standardization: Lessons from an Epistemic Crisis in Toxicology,” Society for Social Studies of Science (New Orleans, LA, September 2019)

“Regulating Chemical Risks and International Trade at the OECD,” History of Science Society (Seattle, WA, November 2018)

“Privileged Access: Industry Influence in OECD Chemical Testing Standards,” Pervasive Powers: Corporate Authority in the Shaping of Public Policy (Paris, FR, June 2018)

“Standardizing Toxicology: Negotiating ‘Good Practice’ for Chemical Testing,” American Society for Environmental History (Riverside, CA, March 2018).

“Managing a ‘Moon Shot’ for Cancer: Contract Research and Chemical Testing at the National Cancer Institute,” The Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Medicine, (University of Pennsylvania, October 2015).

Previous Degrees:
A.B., Sociology, University of Chicago
M.P.H., Sociomedical Sciences, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health