Date of Award

Winter 12-2022

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Additional Affiliations

Healthcare Abolition Commission

Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



From biased algorithms to discriminatory devices to medical racism, it is clear that biomedical products are created in ways that reproduce racial disparities in access and use. Yet the most common solutions recommended by biomedical research institutions emphasize diversity, equity, and inclusion practices that research has already proven ineffective and sometimes harmful. In fact, labs rarely scrutinize whether and how their research products reflect racial bias, assumptions, or ideals. In this paper, I shift the focus to consider how bioengineering laboratories function as a site in which racial processes contribute to product outcomes. I ask, what are the racial dynamics in the bioengineering laboratory, and how, if at all do they shape the biomedical innovations that they produce? By interviewing 47 bioengineers and completing 3 laboratory ethnographies, I uncover the racial attitudes and perspectives that exist in the sites of production of biomedical technologies. I show that through the pipeline of biomedical production, race is continually altered in context, resulting in a distinct bioengineering culture around racial health equity. Ultimately, this paper contributes to literature about race in organizational studies and science and technology studies, while emphasizing the construction and reconstruction of race in bioengineering research.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Adia Wingfield

Committee Members

David Cunningham, Jake Rosenfeld