Luis Campos


Luis Campos is Assistant Professor in the History Department at Drew University and a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. His interests center on the history of the life sciences in the twentieth century, especially the history of genetics, synthetic biology and the origin of life. His current project, "Synthetic Biology: Engineering Life in the Test Tube", integrates historical investigation with fieldwork among contemporary communities of synthetic biologists as he seeks to relate the claims and aims of this newest of fields to its institutional and disciplinary forebears, its varied local contexts, and to larger ongoing intellectual and cultural themes in the history of the quest to engineer life.

Some of these themes include: the use of synthesis as an experimental tool; the application of design principles and the idea of control as proof of understanding; the creation of life as a disputed ultimate goal; and the interactions of practitioners with their many publics. Having actively followed the field from its first conference in 2004 through its rapid internationalisation, interdisciplinarisation, and emerging commercialisation, Campos' scholarship explores the shifting discourses and many competing visions of synthetic biologists as recurring themes in the history of biology.

PhD, History of Science, Harvard (2006) MPhil, History and Philosophy of Science (Cambridge, UK, 2000) AB, Biology, Harvard (1999).