Dr. MacPhail received her PhD in Medical Anthropology from UC-Berkeley/UC-San Francisco. Her first book, Siren Song: A Pathography of Influenza and Global Public Health, is based on her dissertation research on the science and epidemiology of influenza in Hong Kong, the United States, and Europe, and is currently under development at Cornell University Press as part of their new series on expertise. Dr. MacPhail received her MA at the Draper Program with a focus in STS and Global Histories, and has a BA in Journalism from the University of New Hampshire.
Her work and research interests center on: the historical, cultural and social aspects of infectious disease; the development and utilization of new technologies within epidemiology and medicine; the production and circulation of information and knowledge in bioscience and public health; politics and the emergence of “global” public health policies; the construction of scientific expertise; new media, public communication, and the construction of narratives in the biosciences and epidemiology; and the process of decision-making in relationship to uncertainty and risk. Both her research and methodology integrate ethnography and anthropology with the fields of journalism, science & technology studies, history, and political science.
She is the current recipient of a writing fellowship from the D. Kim Foundation for the History of Science in East Asia and is a former recipient of the multi-year Chancellor’s Fellowship at UC-Berkeley. Her field sites and areas of geographic interest are Hong Kong, China, and the United States. Her next research project will examine the resurgence of bed bugs and the threat of dengue fever in the United States and in Hong Kong, focusing on local and national public health response, information campaigns, and how disease and pestilence play into the recent fears over the United States’ financial turmoil and intellectual and cultural decline as a “world power.”