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Dr Heather Strange

Dr Heather Strange

Research Associate

School of Medicine

029225 10474
7th floor, Neuadd Meirionnydd, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff, CF14 4YS


I am a qualitative research associate at the Centre for Trials Research (CTR), where I am working on both the ORION (making nurses' 'organising work' count in healthcare quality and safety) and PUMA (Paediatric early warning system - Utilisation and Mortality Avoidance) studies.

I work primarily within the fields of medical sociology, science and technology studies and bio/medical ethics.  My PhD (2015) was an empirical study of the emergence and translation of the novel prenatal testing technology NIPD/NIPT (non-invasive prenatal diagnosis/testing), for which I recruited a wide range of patient, clinician and expert participants.  Drawing from their accounts, the final thesis explored the shifting of the established boundary between practices of prenatal screening and prenatal diagnosis, the moral, social and political problematisation of NIPT/D and its affect, the centrality (and silencing) of abortion, and the containment and defusion of contemporary bioethical debate. 

Previous to undertaking this strand of research, I contributed to a wide range of qualitative and bioethical research projects at Cesagen, the ESRC-funded Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics. I also spent some time working for the Specialist Unit for Research Evidence (SURE), and contributed to a number of projects coordinated by the School of Social Sciences. As such, I have been able to contribute work to a wide range of debates and discussions, including; the ethics of sex selection, the application of new biometric technologies, the standardisation of ethics in biobanking and population health, the dignified care of older people, the care of persons with dementia, and the community-based use of online social media.

PUMA: see and for for further information

ORION: (study information and website forthcoming)


Education and qualifications

  • PhD (Social Sciences), Cardiff University, 2016
  • MA (Ethics and Social Philosophy), Cardiff University, 2007
  • BA Hons, first class (Philosophy), Cardiff University, 2004

Career overview

  • 2016 - present: Research Associate, Centre for Trials Research (CTR) / South East Wales Trials Unit (SEWTU), Cardiff University
  • 2014 - 2016: Research Support, Specialist Unit for Research Evidence (Sure), Cardiff University
  • 2011 - 2015: PhD student, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2008 - 2011: Research Assistant, ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), Cardiff University

Honours and awards

  • National Institute for Social Care and Health Research (NISCHR), Health Studentship Award (2011), Welsh Government.
  • DM Phillips Tylerstown Philosophy Prize (2006-07), Cardiff School of English, Communication and Philosophy, Philosophy Board of Studies

Smaller grant funders (for travel and research dissemination) include: the British Sociological Association, Cesagen, the KISS DTC, the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, the Health Technology and Society Research Group, the European Society for Human Genetics, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Germany) and the Economic and Social Research Council.

Professional memberships

The British Sociological Association (BSA), date of registration 23/05/2012.

Academic positions

  • 2014 - 2016: Research Support, Specialist Unit for Research Evidence (Sure), Cardiff University
  • 2012 - 2014: Qualitative field researcher, Cardiff University School of Social Sciences (Forgotten Abergavenny and Care Home Organisations Implementing Cultures of Excellence/CHOICE, projects)
  • 2011 - 2015: PhD student, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University
  • 2008 - 2011: Research Assistant, ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Genomics (Cesagen), Cardiff University

Speaking engagements

  • Non Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis: The Emergence and Translation of a New Prenatal Testing Technology. Cardiff University Institute of Medical Genetics seminar series, University Hospital of Wales, 18th February 2016, Cardiff University.
  • NIPT: the Emergence and Translation of a New Prenatal Testing Technology. International Winter School /
    Internationale BMBF-Klausurwoche: “The Fetus as a Patient – a Sustainable Approach to Clinical Interactions in the
    Field of New Prenatal Medicine”. November 23-27, 2015 in Kasteel Bloemendal, Vaals (Netherlands).
  • Non invasive prenatal diagnosis (NIPD) and testing (NIPT): encounters with a revolutionary reproductive technology.
    BSA Medical Sociology Group Annual Conference 2015 Wednesday 9 - Friday 11 September 2015, University of
  • "Patient and Professional Experiences with Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis (NIPD) and Testing (NIPT): Social and
    Ethical Issues Raised". International Conference on Prenatal Diagnosis and Therapy, Washington, DC, USA, 12-15
    July 2015 (poster presentation).
  • ‘From NIPD to NIPT: Biopolitical Implications of an Emerging Reproductive Technology’. Inaugural ELSI 2.0
    conference: Translational Research and Emerging Technologies. HeLEX, Oxford, 23rd – 25th June 2015.
  • ‘Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT): Panacea or Pandora’s box?’. Innermost Learning Babywatch Symposium, The
    Vale Hotel, Hensol, Cardiff. May 19th 2015.
  • ‘Patients voices and the sociological perspective on non-invasive prenatal diagnosis’. Workshop on Interdisciplinary
    approaches to Regulating Innovation, Cardiff University School of Law and Politics, 18th February 2015.
  • 'Non-invasive prenatal testing: divisions, categorisations and public secrets'. Exeter University Department of Sociology
    & Philosophy seminar, 15th October 2014.
  • ‘Non-invasive Prenatal Testing: Pushing at the Boundaries of Screening and Diagnosis’, Symposium on Researching
    (Bio)medicine with Care: Cosmopolitics, Affects and Ethics, British Sociological Association Medical Sociology Annual
    Conference, Aston University, 11th September 2014.
  • ‘Tracking NIPD: findings from PhD fieldwork’. Sussex University Centre for Bionetworking, Colloquium on Disability
    Detection and Foetal Decision-Making. Sussex University, 16th June 2014.
  • ‘Non-invasive prenatal testing: pushing at the boundaries of screening and diagnosis’. Cardiff University School of
    Social Sciences, Medicine Science and Culture (MeSC) research group seminar, 28th May 2014.
  • ‘Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis: The Expert's View’. Cardiff University School of Social Sciences, Doctoral
    Conference, 23rd October 2013.
  • Informed consent in noninvasive prenatal testing’ International Genomics Conference, 13th - 14th September 2012,
    Radisson Blu, Cardiff. (Poster presentation).
  • ‘Informed consent in non-invasive prenatal diagnosis’. European Society for Human Genetics Annual
    Conference/European Meeting for Psycho Social Aspects of Genetics, Nurnberg, Germany. 25th June 2012.
  • ‘Emerging prenatal genetic testing technologies: ethical issues and the need for empirical research’. ESRC Genomics
    Network conference ‘Genomics in Society: facts, fictions and cultures’, The British Library, London. April 23rd, 2012.
  • ‘Non-Invasive Prenatal Diagnosis: a Social Science Perspective’. Bristol University Centre for Ethics in Medicine, 20th
    February 2012.
  • ‘Harmonisation in Ethics: conceptual and practical challenges’. P³G Annual Meeting "Harmonization in Practice: A
    Platform Based on 50 Studies from 18 Countries", April 26 - 27, 2010. Montreal, Canada. (Poster presentation).

Committees and reviewing

  • Cesagene seminar series organising committee, 2014-15
  • Socsi Postgrad Café organising committee, 2011-12
  • Postgrad Forum on Genetics and Society, regional events (Wales) committee, 2012-13











  • MSc Genetic Counselling (Cardiff University). Employed as a lecturer (teaching on bioethics, ethics and infertility,
    ethics and new technologies) from 2009 to present.
  • MSc Tissue Engineering (CITER). Employed as lecturer (teaching on bioethics) from 2013 - 2015.

Student supervision:

  • ShiHui Zhu, MSc Genetic Counselling dissertation. ‘Patient experiences of Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in the
    private sector’ (2017)
  • E. Anderson, MSc Genetic counselling dissertation. ‘Experiences of pre-implantation genetic diagnosis in Wales’
  • C. Giffney, MSc Genetic counselling dissertation. ‘Exploring Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis in Ireland’ (2011)
  • Amy Bamber, MSc Genetic counselling dissertation. ‘ Attitudes towards non invasive prenatal diagnosis in the Down
    syndrome community’ (2012)

Current projects:

PUMA: Paediatric early warning system (PEWS): Utlisation and Mortaility Avoidance

A Prospective, mixed method, before and after study, set within four UK hospitals (two District General Hospitals and Two Specialist Children’s Hospitals):

Background: UK paediatric mortality is highest in Europe; A recent survey revealed 85% paediatric inpatient units in the UK were using a track and trigger tool but there was huge variability in the tool being used and most of these were unpublished and un-validated; There is an urgent national need to develop an evidence based PEWS for UK practice.

Study aims: to Identify through a systematic review of the literature the evidence for the core components of a paediatric track and trigger tool; Develop a track and trigger tool implementation package for prospective evaluation; Evaluate the ability of the track and trigger tool to identify serious illness and reduce clinical events by examining core outcomes; Identify the contextual factors that are consequential for tool effectiveness; Identify the key ingredients of successful implementation and normalisation.

Key areas of interest:

Medical sociology, science and technology studies/STS, bioethics, biopolitics, the sociology of reproduction, prenatal testing, genetics and genomics.

Reviewer for:

Bioethics, Health Care Analysis, The Journal of Bioethical Enquiry, Science Technology and Human Values, The Journal of Community Genetics, Sociology of Health and Illness, New Genetics and Society, Social Science and Medicine