Prof Nik Brown



  • PhD (Lancaster)
  • MA (Lancaster)
  • BA(Liverpool)

Nik Brown is professor in sociology at the University of York working across Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the Sociology of Health and Illness (SHI). He has several decades of research and scholarship experience working first on the regulation and governance of the biosciences. His interest in novel and legally challenging areas of biology was underpinned by funding from the ESRC and EC on bio-risk in the contexts of transpecies transplantation. Two of his ESRC funded research projects have explored the political and moral economies of stem cell biobanks and umbilical cord blood banking. His most recent areas of interest include the biopolitics of infections and anti-microbial resistance (AMR). This has resulted in a recently awarded AHRC funded project (2018-20) exploring the relationships between hospital architectural design and infection control. He is also participating in a Global Challenges Research Fund project (GCRF) that seeks to anthropologically explore AMR risk in Sri Lanka. He has published widely on the biopolitics of immunity including a forthcoming monograph (‘Immunitary Life: The biopolitics of Immunity’, Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018).



Main research interests relate to sociological critique of the health and life sciences, broadly grouped as follows:


Selected publications

Recent Selected Publications

  • Beynon-Jones, S. and Brown, N. (2013 in press) Where the wild things are: the EU regulation of transpecies bioscience, In Farrell, A-N.,Flear, M., Hervey, T. and Murphy, T. (eds) European Law and New Health Technologies, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Brown, N. (2013) Contradictions of value: between use and exchange in cord blood bioeconomy, Sociology of Health and Illness, 35, 1, 97-112
  • Machin, L., Brown, N. and McLeod, D. (2012) ‘Two’s company-Three’s a crowd’: The collection of umbilical cord blood for commercial stem cell banks in England and the midwifery profession, Midwifery Jun;28(3):358-365
  • Machin, L., Brown, N. and McLeod, D. (2012) Giving to Receive? The right to donate in umbilical cord blood banking for stem cell therapies, Health Policy, 104, 3, 296-303
  • Brown, N. and Beynon-Jones, S. (2012) Reflex Regulation: an anatomy of promissory science governance, Health, Risk and Society, 14, 3, 223-240
  • Beynon-Jones, S. and Brown, N. (2011) Time, timing and narrative at the interface between science, policy and citizenship, Science and Public Policy, 38, 8, 639-648
  • Brown, N., Machin, L. and McLeod, C. (2011) Immunitary Bioeconomy: the economization of life in the international cord blood market, Social Science and Medicine, 72, 7, 1115-22
  • Tamminen, S. and Brown, N. (2011) Nativitas: Capitalising Genetic Nationhood, New Genetics and Society, 30, 1, 73-99
  • Brown, N. (2009) Beasting the Embryo: The metrics of humanness in the transpecies embryo debate, Biosocieties, 4, 147-163


Contact details

Prof. Nik Brown
Department of Sociology
University of York
Wentworth College
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 324741