SJRC announces new Assistant Director of Research and Academic Programs

September 23, 2016

Katherine (Kate) Weatherford Darling

The Science and Justice Research Center is proud to announce its new Assistant Director, Katherine (Kate) Weatherford Darling.

Kate is a sociologist working across the boundaries of the sociology of health, illness and disability, and feminist science studies. Kate is currently a Doctoral Candidate at UC San Francisco. She first joined the Science and Justice Research Center as a Visiting Scholar and a Graduate Student Researcher in 2015 and worked with the SJRC team to plan the Just Data? conference held May 2016 at UCSC.

Kate cares about bringing social justice and health inequalities to the center of discussions about the ethics and politics of biomedicine. Her research examines how chronic illness and complex disease are transformed by biomedical science and health policy in the U.S. In her forthcoming dissertation (2016), she asks what it means for HIV to be defined, managed and experienced as a chronic illness in U.S. healthcare and policy. She ethnographically traces how people living with HIV and their healthcare providers are navigating biomedical bureaucracies, grappling with new insurance markets and attempting to control healthcare costs. Adele Clarke, Janet Shim, Howard Pinderhughes and Jenny Reardon serve on her dissertation committee. She will be in residence at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland in Winter 2017 to extend her research into a book project.

Kate began her training at UC Berkeley in the College of Natural Resources, where she studied Molecular Environmental Biology and volunteered at a feminist health clinic. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile and then investigated the health effects of air pollution in New York City at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

While a graduate student, she collaborated on research projects at UCSF and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. Through these collaborations, she has examined concepts of race/ethnicity in gene-environment interaction research, the history of race in genetics after World War II, and new frameworks for examining implicated values in biomedical research. Information on her current papers and upcoming presentations are available on and Twitter @kwdetal.

Kate grew up in Santa Cruz County and lives in San Francisco with her family. She enjoys swimming, hiking, camping, gardening and making beer. Her parents are very proud UCSC alumni.