Participant Bios

Margaret Battin, PhD

Margaret Pabst Battin (nicknamed Peggy) is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Medical Ethics, at the University of Utah.  She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College, and holds an M.F.A. in fiction-writing and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at Irvine.  The author of prize-winning short stories and recipient of the University of Utah’s Distinguished Research Award, she has authored, co-authored, edited, or co-edited some twenty books, among them a study of philosophical issues in suicide; a scholarly edition of John Donne’s Biathanatos;a collection on age-rationing of medical care; Puzzles About Art, a volume of case-puzzles in aesthetics; a text on professional ethics; Ethics in the Sanctuary,a study of ethical issues in organized religion; and a collection of her essays on end-of-life issues, The Least Worst Death.  She has also been engaged in research on active euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands.  She has also published Ethical Issues in Suicide,trade-titledThe Death Debate, as well as several co-edited or co-authored collections, includingDrug Use in Euthanasia and Assisted SuicidePhysician-Assisted Suicide: Expanding the Debate; Praying for a Cure,a jointly authored volume on the ethics of religious refusal of medical treatment; and Medicine and Social Justice. In 1997 she received the University of Utah’s Distinguished Research award, and in 2000, she received the Rosenblatt Prize, the University of Utah’s most prestigious award.  She was named Distinguished Honors Professor in 2002-03.   A second collection of her essays (and fiction) on end-of-life issues, entitled Ending Life,was published in spring 2005 by Oxford University Press.   She is the lead author of two multiauthored projects, Drugs and Justice: Seeking a Consistent, Coherent, Comprehensive View  (Oxford, 2008) and  The Patient as Victim and Vector: Ethics and Infectious Disease(Oxford, 2009). She is the general editor of The Ethics of Suicide: Historical Sources (Oxford 2015), an extensive sourcebook coupled with an online Digital Archive hosted by the J. Willard Marriot Library at the University of Utah, freely available at <>.  She has worked closely with the American Association of Suicidology on its statement, issued in October 2017, that “suicide” is not the same as “physician aid in dying.” She is currently completing Sex & Consequences, a book on large-scale reproductive issues, including world population growth and reproductive rights; a jointly-authored volume of case puzzles about disability; and on a set of novel considerations about urban design in the light of ecological, environmental, resource-use, and social issues, called “How to Live in an Italian Hill Town and Still Get to Walmart.”   She has been named one of the “Mothers of Bioethics.”

Angie Boyce, PhD

Angie Boyce is a scholar of science and technology studies (STS) with postdoctoral training in population health and bioethics. Her research agenda examines the politics and ethics of public health risk governance. Her focal areas include emerging infectious diseases, genomics, and food safety and nutrition. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University in 2014. She is currently a Research Scholar and Associate Faculty at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Berman Institute of Bioethics, where she also serves as the Project Director of the JHU Center for Bridging Infectious Disease, Genomics, and Society, a Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Genetics Research funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Svea Closser, PhD

Svea Closser is an anthropologist in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the social structures and cultural norms of infectious disease control and vaccination programs. In her current project, funded by the Fulbright/Nehru program, she is studying the work experiences and social relations of female Community Health Workers in India. She is the author of Chasing Polio in Pakistan (Vanderbilt University Press, 2010), as well as many research articles. She is also co-editor of the undergraduate textbooks Understanding and Applying Medical Anthropology (Routledge, 2016), and Foundations of Global Health (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Kaci Hickox, MPH, MSN, RN

Kaci Hickox (MSN/MPH 2011) became an emergency department nurse in 2002. She received a Diploma in Tropical Nursing from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 2006 and joined Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders in 2007. For MSF, she worked as a nurse manager for primary care and outbreak responses in Burma, Nigeria, Sudan, and Uganda. She obtained her MSN/MPH from Johns Hopkins University in 2011 and then completed the Centers for Disease Control’s Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) in 2014. After joining MSF’s teams to fight the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014, she returned to the U.S. and further fought for an ethical public health response to Ebola after being forced into an isolation tent in New Jersey and home-quarantine in Maine. Kaci now works for MSF in Amsterdam as their infection prevention and control advisor.

Javier Lezaun, PhD

Javier Lezaun received his PhD from Cornell’s Department of Science and Technology Studies, and is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology and the University of Oxford. He has researched the political impact of new biotechnologies, starting with the advent of the first generation of genetically modified crops in the 1990s. He is currently involved in several research projects that explore the use of modified mosquitoes in global health interventions, and is writing (with Ann H. Kelly) a book entitled Pragmatists in the Tropics that follows the work of entomologists as they attempt to understand and control mosquito-borne diseases.

Lisa Maragakis, MD, MPH

Lisa Maragakis, MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor of Medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she received her medical degree and post-doctoral Infectious Diseases training and a master’s degree in public health from The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She serves as Senior Director for Healthcare Epidemiology and Infection Control of the Johns Hopkins Health System and is the Hospital Epidemiologist and Executive Director of the Biocontainment and Special Pathogens Unit at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.  Dr. Maragakis’ research interest is the prevention of healthcare-associated infections and she is a co-investigator in the Johns Hopkins Prevention Epicenter funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Epicenters Program. She served as Co-Chair of the 2014 update of the SHEA-IDSA Compendium of Strategies to Prevent Healthcare Associated Infections; and currently serves on the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of American Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Committee and as a member of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Gregg Mitman, PhD

Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environment Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  An award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher, his interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world.  A past president of the American Society for Environmental History, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, among others. Recent works include Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes (Yale University Press, 2007), and Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film, rev. ed. (University of Washington Press, 2009).  Together with Sarita Siegel, he co-produced and co-directed two films, In the Shadow of Ebola, an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and The Land Beneath Our Feet, a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia. He is currently completing a book, The World that Firestone Built, on the impact and legacy of the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia,to be published by The New Press.

Graham Mooney, PhD
Graham Mooney is a historian of public health in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His first book Instrusive Interventions: Public Health, Domestic Space, and Infectious Disease Surveillance in England 1840-1914 (University of Rochester Press, 2015), examined the history of public health interventions such as infectious disease notification, institutional and domestic isolation, disinfection, and contact tracing.
He is currently working on two book projects. Harm City: Health and Injustice in Urban America uses a case study of race and class politics in Baltimore to explore the fracturing of public health systems and policy in neo-liberal American cities. Spatial Histories of Modern Medicine: Using Space and Place to Understand the Past (under contract to Cambridge University Press) uses a series of historical examples, including homes, ambulances, and waiting rooms, to investigate how the characteristics of space and place influence healing practices, and how the practice of medicine produces particular kinds of place and space.
Alexandra Phelan, LL.M, LL.B
Rosemary Taylor, PhD

Rosemary Taylor, Tufts University, studies the comparative history of disease and health policy, within the framework of political sociology and the sociology of science and technology. Her recent research compares US responses with those of the European Union and its member states to cross-border health threats (such as TB, pandemic influenzas, AIDS, Ebola and zika), especially when their carriers are perceived to be migrants. Her current book project, Risks Unforeseen, funded by NIH, is a study of the generation and international transfer of scientific knowledge, and how it is factored (or not) into political decision-making, with an empirical focus on responses to the viral contamination of the global blood supply with Hepatitis C and HIV and subsequent risk regulation in Britain and the United States.  Collaborative work has developed a new model for understanding how social relations impinge on health.  It sees public policy-making as an endeavor that creates or erodes the social resources on which people and communities depend to cope with challenges to their health.

Priscilla Wald, PhD

Priscilla Wald is R. Florence Brinkley Chair of English and Margaret Taylor Smith Director of the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University, where she co-edits American Literature. She is the author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative (Duke, 2008) and Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form (Duke, 1995). Wald is currently working on a monograph entitled Human Being After Genocide; she serves on the boards of Literature and Medicine and the Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at Hong Kong University.

Alexandre White, PhD

Alexandre White is a Provost’s Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sociology at Johns Hopkins University. He earned his PhD in Sociology from Boston University, an MSc. in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. in Black Studies from Amherst College. His work sits at the intersection of global health research, medical sociology, and comparative historical sociology. His book project, Epidemic Orientalism: A Social History of International Disease Response, explores the historical roots of international responses to epidemic threats and examines how the risk of epidemic outbreak is determined as well as what sort of threats trigger responses and interventions from the World Health Organization (WHO).

Rebecca Wilbanks, PhD

Rebecca Wilbanks received her PhD from Stanford’s Program in Modern Thought and Literature and holds a BA summa cum laudein comparative literature and biological sciences from Cornell University. She is currently a Hecht-Levi postdoctoral fellow at the Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Department of the History of Medicine at Johns Hopkins. Her research draws on literary studies and science and technology studies to explore the intersection of science and culture. She has published articles on the phenomena of “biohacking” or “DIY biology,” and is working on a book entitled “Life’s Imagined Futures: The Speculative Science and Speculative Fiction of Synthetic Biology.” Rebecca is part of the Center for Bridging Infectious Disease, Genomics, and Society (BRIDGES) at Johns Hopkins, where she is exploring the social and ethical dimensions of genetic modification as a means of fighting infectious disease, as in the case of mosquitoes engineered to be resistant to malaria.