Biomedicine in museums

Biomarkers — an impossible topic for an exhibition?

‘Biomarkers’, i.e., chemical substances that are used as indicators of biological (especially pathological) conditions, is one of these important concepts in contemporary biomedicine that seem to be almost impossible as an exhibition topic — partly because the idea of ‘biomarker’ is so abstract and partly because the involved artefacts and substances don’t have much ‘presence’.

Unfortunately, because the search for biomarkers for diagnosing diseases or targets for personalised tharapies is accelerating. And maybe an innovative exhibition curator could learn something after all from the forthcoming conference ‘Towards personalized medicine? Exploring biomarkers’, organised by the Life-Science-Governance Research Platform at the University of Vienna in late June.

The aim of the conference is to explore, from the perspective of the humanities and the social sciences, the implications of biomarker research for “the daily practices of medical research and health care, and what kinds of futures are generated through the emerging biomarker practices”.

Proposed presentations should either explore translation processes of biomarker candidates, and/or discuss the various effects that biomarkers create, and explore the cultural impacts of the new developments in the biomarker field in biomedicine and society. Abstracts of roughly 300 words should be sent to by April 22; accepted presenters will be notified a week later. The conference will take place at the University of Vienna, Austria, 28-28 June. More info here.

(thumbnail courtesy: Foundation for the NIH)

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

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