Michelle LaBonte

Michelle LaBonte

Lecturer on the History of Science
Labonte lecturer

Research Interests: History of medicine; history of biology; history of technology; disability history.

Michelle LaBonte is a Lecturer and PhD candidate in the Department of the History of Science. Her dissertation, Diagnosing Uncertainty: Cystic Fibrosis, Disease Definition, and Diagnostic Challenges in Medicine, examines why diagnostic uncertainty persists in medicine and the impact of such uncertainty on patients and families. Before embarking on a career as a historian, she was initially trained as a biologist, receiving an AB in Molecular Biology from Princeton University and a PhD in Virology from the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard University. After post-doctoral research at Harvard, she spent over a decade teaching undergraduate students in the classroom and in the laboratory, including six years on the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College.

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HISTSCI 1420: A History of Medicine Through Patient Voices

HISTSCI 1430: Diagnostic Technologies in Medicine

HISTSCI 1435: A History of Biotechnology

HISTSCI 97: History of Science Sophomore Tutorial

Select Publications:

LaBonte ML. 2022. Diagnostic uncertainty, microbes, and the isolation of people with cystic fibrosis. Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. 77(2): 186-216.

LaBonte ML. 2021. Addressing uncertainty: The emergence of the CRMS/CFSPID diagnostic category following newborn screening for cystic fibrosis. OBM Genetics. Special issue on “Policy Issues in Prenatal and Neonatal Testing, Counseling, and Decision-Making” co-edited by Ilana Löwy and Diane Paul. 5(3), DOI:10.21926.

LaBonte ML. 2018. The mist tent: An analysis of therapeutic change in the history of cystic fibrosis care. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, 92(4): 634–663.

LaBonte ML. 2017. Blobel and Sabatini's "beautiful idea:" Visual representations of the conception and refinement of the signal hypothesis. Journal of the History of Biology. 50(4): 797-833.

LaBonte ML. 2014. Anticoagulant factor V: Factors affecting the integration of novel scientific discoveries into the broader framework. Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences. 47: 23-34.

Previous Degrees:
AB, Molecular Biology, Princeton University
AM, History of Science, Harvard University
PhD, Virology, Division of Medical Sciences, Harvard University

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