Katherine Darling

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Assistant Professor Of Sociology

Lewiston Hall Room 222
UMA Bangor Campus


I am a sociologist working across the boundaries of medical sociology, feminist science studies, public health and bioethics. I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the UMA Social Science Program and affiliated at University of Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering and the Center for Outcomes Research & Evaluation at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. I also serve on the Ethics Advisory Board at Northern Light Health Eastern Maine Medical Center and co-coordinate the Health Equity Dialogues.

I teach courses on the ethics, politics and social dimensions of health, healthcare and biomedicine, with specific attention to race, class, gender, disability and intersecting social inequities. My teaching approach puts students’ lived experiences at the core of learning. My classes use active learning strategies and project-based learning to teach students how knowledge about society is created and applied to solve real life problems. I am particularly passionate about interdisciplinary teaching that centers social justice and bridges the divide between the social and biomedical sciences.

Before finding medical sociology, I studied Molecular Environmental Biology and volunteered at a feminist health clinic in Oakland, California. My experience researching the effects of air pollution on mothers and children in New York City led me to pursue questions about how the environment is conceptualized in biomedicine in my graduate training at UC San Francisco (UCSF). While a graduate student, I collaborated on several projects on the ethical, legal and social implications of genomics at UCSF, UC Santa Cruz and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.

I collaborate with students on health equity research. My scholarship uses feminist and participatory sociological methods to understand how social institutions and biomedical practices shape health inequities in order to empower communities and inform public health policies. My work aims to help biomedical scientists understand and anticipate social, ethical and policy issues in their research and support health systems and community leaders to address social determinants of health. My active projects examine the social and ethical implications of genomic sequencing in cancer treatment and the structural barriers to health facing workers in Maine’s shellfish and lobster industries.


  • SOC 101: Introduction to Sociology
  • SOC 201: Social Problems
  • SOC 330: Sociology of Health and Healthcare
  • SSC 390: Project Planning for Social Science
  • BMS 605: Responsible Conduct of Research


Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics (2017-2018)
Assistant Director of Research & Academic Programs, Science & Justice Research Center University of California Santa Cruz (2016-2017)


Doctorate in Sociology, UC San Francisco (2016)
Bachelors of Science, Molecular Environmental Biology, UC Berkeley (2007)


Weatherford Darling, Katherine. Jenny Reardon, Andy Murray, Emily Caramelli, Dennis

Browe, Nikobi Petronelli and Emma Mitchell-Sparke 2020. “Just Biomedicine on Third Street? Health & Wealth Inequities in San Francisco’s Biotech Hub” in Counterpoints: Bay Area Data and Stories for Resisting Displacement PM Press, Oakland California

Ackerman, Sara A, Katherine Weatherford Darling, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Robert A. Hiatt, Janet K. Shim. 2017. “The Ethics of Translational Science: Imagining Public Benefit in Gene-Environment Interaction Research”, Engaging Science and Technology Studies Vol. 3

Jenny Reardon, Rachel A. Ankeny, Jenny Bangham, Katherine W. Darling, Stephen Hilgartner, Kathryn Maxson Jones, Beth Shapiro, Hallam Stevens, The Genomic Open workshop group; 2016. “Bermuda 2.0: Reflections from Santa Cruz.” Gigascience 2016; Vol. 5 (1): pp. 1-4.

Science FARE (Feminist Anti-Racist Equity) Collective (Charis Thompson, Laura Mamo, Jenny Reardon, Ugo Edo, Jessica Cussins and Katherine Weatherford Darling, founding members). 2016. “Social Science: Include Social Equity in California Biohub.” Nature Vol. 538(7625): pp. 371–371.

Weatherford Darling, Katherine, Sara L. Ackerman, Robert A. Hiatt, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, and Janet K. Shim. 2016. “Enacting the Molecular Imperative: How Gene-Environment Interaction Research links Bodies and Environments in the Post-Genomic Age”, Social Science and Medicine, Vol. (155): pp. 51-60.

Ackerman, Sara A, Katherine Weatherford Darling, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Robert A. Hiatt, and Janet K. Shim. 2016. “Accounting for Complexity: Gene-Environment Interactions and the Politics of Quantification” Science, Technology and Human Values, Vol. 41(2): pp. 194-218.

Obasogie, Osagie K., Julie N. Harris-Wai, Katherine Darling, Carolyn Keagy and Michael Levesque. 2015. “Race in the Life Sciences: An Empirical Assessment, 1950-2000.” Fordham Law Review. Vol. 83 Issue 6. pp. 3089-3114.

Shim, Janet K., Katherine Weatherford Darling, Sara L. Ackerman, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, and Robert A. Hiatt. 2015. “Reimaging Race and Ancestry: Biomedicalizing Difference in Post-Genomic Subjects.” In Reimagining Biomedicalization, Pharmaceuticals and Genetics: Old Critiques and New Engagements, edited by Susan E. Bell and Anne E. Figert, pp. 56-78. Routledge. New York, New York

Weatherford Darling, Katherine, Angie Boyce, Mildred Cho and Pamela Sankar. 2015. “What is the FDA going to think?: Negotiating Values through Reflective and Strategic Category Work in Microbiome Science”. Science, Technology and Human Values. Vol. 40(1), pp. 71-95.

Shim, Janet K., Sara L. Ackerman, Katherine Weatherford Darling, Robert A. Hiatt, and Sandra Soo-Jin Lee. 2014. “Race and Ancestry in the Age of Inclusion: Technique and Meaning in Post-Genomic Science.” Journal of Health and Social Behavior Vol. 55(4), pp. 504-518.

Shim, Janet K., Katherine Weatherford Darling, Martine D. Lappé, L. Katherine Thomson, Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Robert A. Hiatt, and Sara L. Ackerman. 2014. “Homogeneity and Heterogeneity as Situational Properties: Producing – and Moving Beyond? – Race in Post-Genomic Science”, Social Studies of Science Vol. 44(4): pp. 579-99.

José Rosa, Maria, Kyung Hwa Jung, Matthew S. Perzanowski, Elizabeth A. Kelvin, David Camann, Katherine W Darling, Steven N Chillrud, Robin M Whyatt, Patrick L Kinney, Frederica P Perera, Rachel L. Miller. 2011. “Prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, environmental tobacco smoke and asthma”. Respiratory Medicine. Vol. 105(6): pp. 869-76.

Katherine Darling