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Bio Policy & Practices Lab

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Bio Policy & Practices Lab

The Bio Policy & Practices Lab is a multidisciplinary research group led by Dr. Megan J. Palmer at Stanford University. The lab operates as the primary research arm of the Bio Policy & Leadership in Society Initiative (Bio.Polis).


Our research focuses on understanding and shaping the social dimensions of biological science and engineering.  We use a variety of disciplinary methods, including both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Our group includes members trained in the social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering who transgress disciplinary boundaries to solve meaningful problems. 

We work with a growing number of faculty, students, and staff at Stanford, as well as collaborators beyond the university. We also partner closely with a number of organizations looking to put knowledge into practice and to help generate insights. 

Some of the questions that currently interest us include:

  • How do researchers conceptualize, measure and manage the benefits and risks of their work?
  • What inspires and enables researchers to attend to the societal context of their work?
  • How have conceptions of risks and benefits coupled to research evolved over time, and how has that shaped debates and policy approaches?
  • How might technology design decisions bias different governance options?
  • How is access to technology changing the governance landscape?
  • What predicts performance and learning in team-based science and innovation?

These questions transcend biology but they are especially timely, relevant and consequential for biology. Biology is the fabric of the living world, and our capabilities to engineer biology are rapidly maturing with global consequences.

Meet Our Lab Members