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Dr Katie Featherstone  -  PhD

Dr Katy Featherstone
Position:Director of Post Graduate Research

Telephone:+44 (0)29 2091 7815
Fax:+44 (0)29 2091 7803
Location:Room 417, 4th Floor, Eastgate House, 35 - 43 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 0AB

My expertise is in the sociology of biomedical knowledge, with particular emphasis on the social consequences of genetic technologies. I have 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.

Teaching and Learning

As well as Director of Postgraduate Studies (Research), I also manage the compulsory research training module: Advanced qualitative methods within the MSc in Advanced Clinical Practice.

I present a range of introductory sessions and workshops across the teaching programme on PhD options, writing a research protocol and research methods. I also deliver masterclasses on qualitative methods and ethnography within clinical settings.

Impact and 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:


Based at Chapter Arts Centre ( 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. I lead this project and events during 2010 were attended by over 400 members of the pubic who participated for a total of 35 hours of engagement. The sciSCREEN blog @, Facebook page and on Twitter @

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

I am part of a collaborative team led by Techniquest, a science discovery centre and outreach organization ( 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). This is part of the ‘Reach the Heights’ programme to 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).

This programme will inform a body of social science research and evaluation with colleagues examining engagement, communication and debate in the field of neuroscience and psychiatric genetics.