Jeannette Colyvas to Collaborate on ‘Big Ideas’ Biomedicine Research

Jeannette Colyvas to Collaborate on ‘Big Ideas’ Biomedicine Research

Jeannette Colyvas
A “Big Ideas” grant from Northwestern’s Buffett Institute will enable SESP associate professor Jeannette Colyvas and her colleagues to create a research group in Global Medical Cultures and Law that will research “Biomedicine and Traditional Medicine across Cultures.”

The Buffett Institute Research Group program develops important interdisciplinary collaborative research programs that have the potential to be recognized as world leaders in their fields. Buffett Institute’s Big Ideas faculty funding initiative was made possible by alumna Roberta Buffett Elliott’s major gift to Northwestern in 2015.

In addition to Colyvas, faculty collaborators in the new research group in Global Medical Cultures and Law are as follows:

The Buffett Institute awarded a $48,950 grant to launch the research group, which will study the globalization of biomedicine and the recent rise of traditional medicine. “Until now, few scholars have attempted to examine them together or unravel their connections on a global scale and assess their impact on global health programs,” the group’s proposal states.

Members of the group, representing history, law, anthropology, political science, sociology and public policy, bring wide-ranging expertise. The researchers also want to collaborate with scholars and students who work in global studies, medical humanities and anthropology, global health and legal studies.

Research questions to be addressed may include the following, according to the Buffett Institute:

  • To what extent and through what legal, institutional and political instruments has biomedicine been globalized?
  • In what ways did different disciplinary, geopolitical, economic and legal phenomena play a role in codifying “traditional medicine”?
  • What kinds of ideas about culture, heritage and ancestry operate in controversies over patenting traditional knowledge and medicine? How are these conflicts different from those surrounding access to drugs and patent-protected versus generic options? 

Future activities also include lectures, seminars and conferences related to the core themes of global biomedicine, medical traditions in the world and intellectual properties across cultures.   

Colyvas, a faculty member in the Learning Sciences and Human Development and Social Policy programs at Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy, studies organizations and entrepreneurship, as well as public and private science. A special area of research has been how universities and people transform during the entrepreneurial process of technology transfer.

By Buffett Institute and SESP
Last Modified: 5/7/21