Entanglements in Health and Well‐being: Working with Model Organisms in Biomedicine and Bioscience


Drawing on collaborative ethnographic fieldwork, this article explores how human health becomes entangled with that of model organisms in day‐to‐day biomedical science. Social science scholarship on modeling has explored either how specific models impact and shape our knowledge of human disease or how animal technicians and scientists affect laboratory animals. This article extends this relational approach by asking how embodied and institutional care practices for model organisms affect the health and well‐being of animal technicians and scientists. We focus on two interspecies bodily experiences: pathogenic exchange and stress. We then explore enrichment as a strategy for producing health and well‐being across species. We suggest that relations of care form a crucial part of biomedical knowledge production. Not only does care figure in the shaping of model organisms; care for technicians and scientists also plays a role in bioscientific knowledge production. We conclude by proposing an interspecies approach to occupational health.