Staff – University of Copenhagen

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Mette Nordahl Svendsen

Mette Nordahl Svendsen

Professor mso, Professor with special responsibilities

Current research

"Personalized Medicine in the Welfare State" (MeinWe), Semper Ardens-bevilling Carlsbergfondet

“A life worth living: negotiating worthiness in human and animal”, funding from the Danish Research Council.

”Life at the margins: modeling pigs and humans in biomedical research”, funding from the Danish Research Council”.

“Moral reasoning and social responsibilities in translational medicine”, work package in the research platform NEOMUNE, see, funding from The Danish Council for Strategic Research.

Primary fields of research

What is a life worth living? What does the human become in the light of new advances in medical science and technology? In my research I explore the many ways in which biomedical knowledge production and its translation to the clinic are embroiled in existential questions of life worthiness. I take a particular interest in how relationships, boundaries, and exchanges between human and animal are practiced in the development of medical knowledge and technology and how life is understood and administered in the interface between laboratory and clinic. Central in this approach is an attention to the way human life is always entangled with other kinds of living beings.

My research is based on ethnographic fieldworks and draws theoretically on anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies. The empirical studies I have carried out concern genetic testing, donations of embryos to human embryonic stem cell research, the use of human subjects in pharmacogenomics research, and the use of the pig and the monkey in experimental research.


Head of the Center for Medical Science and Technology Studies.

Director of Master of Public Health Study Program

ID: 6564