Accepted Paper:

Proposing and recalling a bioinformatic solution  


Donald Everhart (University of California - San Diego)

Paper short abstract:

This talk will discuss the process of quality control in a cellular and molecular medicine laboratory. It investigates this process as it emerged in laboratory meetings, an interactional ‘shop floor’ of bioinformation.

Paper long abstract:

This study marks a continuation of my study of post-genomic biology in flight. It captures laboratory members' recognition of a pivotal moment in a project that had gone previously unnoticed. As laboratory members watched a short segment of video from a past meeting, they saw foreshadowed a practical solution to a bioinformatic problem that was implemented months later. By the time a laboratory member implemented the solution, its momentary surfacing in that earlier meeting had been largely forgotten.

By focusing on laboratory meeting, this study proposes to trace the pragmatic, interactional work of translational medicine. It presents a problem of quality control as it was discussed and modulated in one laboratory meeting and follows it to a moment after it was implemented. Digitalization, as an essential element of the work of cellular and molecular medicine, is specified in the prospective and retrospective interactions of the 'shop floor' (Garfinkel, Lynch, and Livingston 1981). That is, bioinformatic work is displayed as it is interactionally constituted and later recognized. In this way, the work of data science in a cellular and molecular medicine laboratory becomes observable, recognizable, and apparent as co-operative action not only by the ethnographer but also by laboratory members.

Panel T021
Bioinformation management in data driven medicine