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The Gender and Science Ethnography lab is a collaborative research project led by Dr. Megan Tracy and Dr. Rebecca Howes-Mischel, associate professors of anthropology at JMU supported by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the College of Arts and letters. The focus of this qualitative research lab is the development of a cross-species microbiome and its gendered implications. As anthropologists of science, we are studying the establishment of (and contestations within) collaborations between universities, national initiatives, and venture capital endeavors, looking specifically at the outcomes of the National Microbiome Initiative. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted independently on dairy science and on human reproductive health, we are currently analyzing how these two fields are drawn together in the modeling of a maternal microbiome. While this lab is in the initial stages of formation, we are excited to integrate undergraduate students into this research process where they will help us maintain research databases and engage in long-term project planning.

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