Katherine Darling

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Assistant Professor Of Sociology

Lewiston Hall Room 222
UMA Bangor Campus


Katherine (Kate) Weatherford Darling, PhD is a sociologist working across the boundaries of medical sociology, feminist science studies, healthy policy and bioethics. She is an Assistant Professor of Sociology in the Social Science program at University of Maine at Augusta. She is also affiliated at University of Maine Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Engineering and the Center for Outcomes Research at Maine Medical Center Research Institute. She coordinates the UMA Health Equity Speaker Series.

Before arriving at UMA, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics funded by the National Human Genome Research Institute’s Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI) Program. Between 2015 and 2017, Kate worked at the Science & Justice Research Center at University of California, Santa Cruz, where she coordinated the Science & Justice Graduate Training Program and taught in the Sociology Department. In May 2016, she co-hosted the NSF-funded workshop Just Data? Justice, Knowledge and Care in the Age of Precision Medicine. She was in residence at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland in Winter 2017 to disseminate the findings of her dissertation research.

Kate began her training at UC Berkeley in the College of Natural Resources, where she was recognized with Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. She studied Molecular Environmental Biology and volunteered at a feminist health clinic in Oakland. Her experience researching the effects of air pollution on mothers and children at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health led her to pursue questions about how the environment is conceptualized in biomedicine in her graduate training at the in the Sociology Program at the University of California, San Francisco. While a graduate student, she collaborated on NIH ELSI-funded research projects at UCSF and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.

She completed her doctorate in Sociology at University of California, San Francisco (2016) and was awarded the Department of Social Behavioral Sciences Dissertation Award. Adele E. Clarke, Janet K. Shim, Howard Pinderhughes and Jenny Reardon served on her dissertation committee. Her dissertation research traced the transformation of HIV into a manageable yet expensive chronic illness. Kate collaborates with graduate and undergraduate students on research. Her current collaborative research includes projects on the social and ethical implications of genetic sequencing in cancer treatment, the history of public, corporate and philanthropic investment in biomedical research in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the long-term effects of “gig work” on workers and their communities.

Education and Training

2017-2018 – Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics.
2009-2016 – Doctorate in Sociology, UC San Francisco.
2003-2007 – Bachelors of Science, Molecular Environmental Biology, UC Berkeley.


Introduction to Sociology (UMA)
Social Problems (UMA)
Sociology of Health and Healthcare (UMA and Online)
Responsible Conduct of Research (GSBSE)


Sara L. Ackerman, 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.

Sara L. Ackerman, 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.

Janet K. Shim, 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.

Maria José Rosa, 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