Vienna STS Talk: Ingrid Metzler

11.01.2017 17:30

Reimagining Prenatal Care: Engaging with cell free fetal DNA testing in practice

In this presentation, I will discuss the project which I have recently begun at the Department of Science and Technology Studies, unpacking in particular its methodology and its comparative design. The project engages with the emerging configuration of cell free fetal DNA testing, which is—perhaps—better known as “non invasive prenatal testing” (NIPT). Capitalizing on next generation genome sequencing technology, this test transforms the cell free fetal DNA circulating in a pregnant woman’s bloodstream into information about the genome of a fetus at an early stage of pregnancies without putting the pregnancies at risk. The testing has been introduced to the market in the United States and in China in 2011. Since then, it has rapidly diffused geographically, been expanded in scope, and also given rise to debates among biomedical professionals, policy-makers, and publics, encompassing issues ranging from the technical feasibility to the social desirability of this testing. The project seeks to explore the emerging configurations of cffDNA testing in three European countries – Germany, Italy, and Austria, analyzing the values, visions, and “imaginaries of care” that co-emerge with the cffDNA testing configurations. In the presentation, I will discuss this approach as a way to engage with emerging biomedical configurations in an age in which biomedicine and power are in a process of radical transformation.


Institut für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung


Seminarraum STS, NIG, 1010 Wien, Universitätsstraße 7/II/6. Stock