Jane Maienschein

University Professor, Regents' Professor and Center Director
TEMPE Campus


Jane Maienschein specializes in the history and philosophy of biology and the way biology, bioethics, and bio-policy play out in society. She also serves as fellow and directs the History and Philosophy of Science Project at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Professor Maienschein and her team research embryology, genetics, and cell biology. They analyze epistemological standards, theories, and laboratory practices and combine that with their studies of people and institutions, as well as the changing social, political, and legal context in which science thrives.

She served as fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives during the 105th Congress. Professor Maienschein has filled many leadership roles at ASU and with professional societies, panels with NIH, NSF, NEH and committees at the National Academy of Sciences. Founder and director of the Biology and Society Program and Center, she promotes education and research at the intersection of biological science and society.


  • Ph.D. History and Philosophy of Science; minor: Biology, Indiana University 1978
  • B.A. History, the Arts, and Letters, Yale University 1972

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Jane Maienschein specializes in the history and philosophy of biology and the way that biology, bioethics and biopolicy play out in society. Focusing on research in embryology, genetics, and cytology. Maienschein combines detailed analysis of the epistemological standards, theories, laboratory practices and experimental approaches with study of the people, institutions, and changing social, political and legal context in which science thrives.

See http://embryo.asu.edu   and http://history.archives.mbl.edu

Research Group

Center for Biology and Society

Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Massachusetts


Last 5 years:

Why Have Biologists Studied at the Seashore? The Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory,” in Karl Matlin, et al, editors, Why Study Biology by the Sea?, (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming 2019).

With Abraham Gibson and Manfred Laubichler, “Computational History and Philosophy of Science,” ISIS 110: 497-501.

With Manfred Laubichler and Jürgen Renn, “Computational History of Knowledge: Challenges and Opportunities,” ISIS 110: 502-512. 

  With Kate MacCord, “Philosophy of Biology: Understanding Life at Different Scales, eLife (March 13, 2019):        https://elifesciences.org/articles/46569.

  With Kate MacCord, “The Historiography of Embryology and Developmental Biology,” in Michael Dietrich and Mark Borello, editors, Handbook for the History of Biology (Springer, forthcoming 2019). Online first: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-74456-8_7-1.

  With Kate MacCord, “The Marine Biological Laboratory,” eLS (John Wiley and Sons, 2018). Online publication.  doi 10.1002/9780470015902.a0027989

  “History and Philosophy of Science Engaging the Public,” in Françoise Baylis and Alice Dreger, editors, Bioethics in Action (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

  “Changing Ideas about Cells as Complex Systems,” in Karl Matlin, Jane Maienschein, and Manfred Laubichler, editors. Visions of Cell Biology: Reflections on Cowdry’s General Cytology (University of Chicago Press, 2018), pp. 15-45.

  “Cell Lineages in Ontogeny and Phylogeny,” in Brian K. Hall and Sally A. Moody, editors, Cells in Evolutionary Biology: Translating Phenotypes into Genotypes -- Past, Present, Future. CRC Press, 2018, pp. 51-70.

   With Kate MacCord, “Teeth at the intersection of Cells, Development, and Evolution,” in Richard Delisle, editor, The Darwinian Tradition in Context: Research Programs in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Biology (Springer, 2017), pp. 289-308.

   With Kate MacCord, “Changing Conceptions of Human Nature,” in David H. Guston, Ed Finn, and Jason Scot Robert, editors, Frankenstein Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds (MIT Press, 2017), pp. 215-221.

  “The First Century of Cell Theory: from Structural Units to Complex Living Systems,” Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook, 2017: 43-54.

  “Garland Allen, Thomas Hunt Morgan, and Development.” Journal of the History of Biology (2016) 49: 587-601. (online first October 2015)

  “Embryos, Microscopes, and Society,” Studies in History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2016) 57: 129-136

  “Expertise and the Roles of the Academy” in Steve Olson, editor, “The National Academy of Sciences at 150: Biology and Public Policy, http://www.pnas.org/content/111/Supplement_2/9327.full. 2015

  “Is There Anything New About Astrobiology and Society?,” in Stephen J. Dick, Astrobiology and Society (Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 249-262

  “Understanding Embryos in a Changing World: the Case of Philosophers and Historians Engaging Science,” Erkenntnis Online 16 October 2013; (2014) 79: 999-1017

Research Activity

Current Funded Activity:

NSF, with Mary Elting, Saad Bhamia, and Fred Chang, "Collaborative Research: CYBORG cells:  Modular integration of synthetic organelles into living cells," 2019-2022

  NSF, 2019 Ideas Lab on Synthetic Cells

  James S. McDonnell Foundation, “Understanding Regeneration across Scales,” 2019-2021

  NSF, with Abraham Gibson and Manfred Laubichler, “Understanding Biological and Social Intersections around Ideas of Cooperation, 1919-1939,” 2017-2019

  James S. McDonnell Foundation, Planning Grant for “Putting History and Philosophy of Science to Work with the Life Sciences,” 2016; followed by Pilot Grant, 2016-2019

  Webster Foundation, “History of Biology at the MBL,” 2015-2016, 2016-2017, 2018-2020

  NSF, with Manfred Laubichler as PI, Research Coordinated Network “Mapping Authorities and Ontologies,” 2017-2022


Summer 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 414Rsch Colloquium/Bio/Society II
Summer 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 414Rsch Colloquium/Bio/Society II
Summer 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 790Reading and Conference
Spring 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 314Rsch Colloquium/Biology/Soc I
BIO 414Rsch Colloquium/Bio/Society II
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 493Honors Thesis
HPS 495Undergraduate Research
HON 497Honors Colloquium
HPS 498Pro-Seminar
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
HPS 591Seminar
BIO 591Seminar
Fall 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
HON 497Honors Colloquium
HPS 498Pro-Seminar
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
HPS 516History of Biology
BIO 518History of Biology
HPS 591Seminar
BIO 591Seminar
HPS 620Research Prospectus Writing
BIO 620Research Prospectus Writing
Summer 2015
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 790Reading and Conference


Last 5 Years:

  Regeneration Across Scales, ISHPSSB, Oslo, 2019

  130 Years of Biology at the MBL, Northeastern Society for Developmental Biology meeting, 2019

  Embryos in History: Diverging Meanings of Life, University of California at Irvine, 2019

  History and Philosophy of Science Really Do Matter for Policy and Law, American Philosophical Association, Central Division meeting, 2019.

  History, Philosophy, and Regeneration Research, Philosophy in Biology and Medicine international workshop, Bordeaux, France, 2018.

 Embryos in the Public Eye: What do Historians, Philosophers, and Science Studies Scholars have to add?, University of Oslo Science Studies Program.

 In So Many Words: The MBL Convening Science Book Series, MBL Library, 2018

  Panelist on On Writing: Craft and Profession, History of Science Society meeting, 2017

  CRISPR in the Context of Developmental Biology: A Century+ of Engineering Life, Michigan State University, 2017

  With Kate MacCord and Steve Elliott, Research, Outreach, and Education Systems: The HPS Repository, Embryo Project, and MBL History Project, Philosophy of Science Association, 2016

  Presentation to National Academy of Sciences Planning Committee on Gene Editing, Washington DC, 2015 (presented in absentia by Robin Lovell-Badge), Washington, DC, 2015

  Contributor to Historians of Science in the Public Sphere, History of Science Society meeting, 2015

  Panelist for Joint Caucus for Socially Engaged Philosophy and History of Science evening panel, History of Science Society meeting, 2015

 A Century of Cells, ISHPSSB meeting, 2015

 What do Wound Repair, Chimeras, and Embryonic Stem Cells Have in Common?,  Logic, Methology, and Philosophy of Science meeting, 2015

Revisiting Cowdrys General Cytology. Looking Back to See Ahead, Cell Symposium, Marine Biological Laboratory, 2014 and follow up 2015

Biology and Society at Arizona State, Michigan State University Vice President for Research Office, 2014

How T.H. Morgan Misled Gar Allen about Development, Garland Allen Retirement Fest Washington University, 2014

Is there Anything New about Astrobiology and Society?, Library of Congress Astrobiology Conference, 2014

Looking at Cells, Seeing Complex Systems, University of Vienna Philosophy Symposium for the Institute Vienna Circle, and &HPS meeting, 2014

 Thinking about Cells and Development, Harvard University Center for Vascular Biology Visiting Professor Series, 2014

Evolutionary Developmental Biology and Michael Ruse, University of Toronto, 2014

A History of Rich Collaboration: The University of Chicago and Marine Biological Laboratory, keynote address, MBL-University of Chicago retreat, keynote address 2014

Looking at Cells Around 1900, Seeing Complex Systems, University of Chicago, 2014


David L. Hull Prize, International Society for HIstory, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, 2015

AAAS Fellow and Featured Member, 2014

Arizona Professor of the Year, CASE and Carnegie Foundation for the Advnacement of Teaching, 2010

HIstory of Science Society Joseph Hazen Education Award, 2000

Sarton Lecture, History of Science Society, 1996

Various ASU awards, especially for teaching


Series Editor, MBL Book Series, University of Chicago Press

Biology and Philosophy, Associate Editor, 1993-2016; Editorial Board 2016-present

Cambridge University Press Studies in the Philosophy of Biology, Advisory Board, 1993-2009

Isis, Editorial Board, 2009-2012

Journal of Experimental Zoology, Part B, Editorial Board, 2006-2012

Journal of the History of Biology, co-editor with Garland Allen, 1998-2006; Editorial Board 1991-1998; Book Review Board, 1985-1998

Philosophy of Science, Editorial Board, 2009-2015


Professional Associations

American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow, and various offices American Association for Women in Science, Fellow and past board member History of Science Society, President 2008-2009 and many offices International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, President 1989-1991 and many offices Philosophy of Science Association, past governing board member Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, past division chair and executive council David


  • Library Advisory Committee (2015 – 2018); Open Access  Committee (2016 – 2017)
  • Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center, External Advisor Committee (2015 – Present)
  • Michigan State University, invited consultant (2014 - Present)
  • Irish Radio, invited interview for "Futureproof" (2014 - Present)
  • Carla Nappi history of science podcasts, interviewee (2014 - Present)
  • Canada Research Committee, reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • Biological Bulletin, reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • Center for Evolution and Medicine, advisory committee member (2014 - Present)
  • Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • Philosophy's Compass, reviewer (2014 - Present)
  • SOLS Executive Committee/Human Dimensions Faculty Leader, member (2014 - Present)
  • Joint Atlantic Seminar for the History of Biology, organizer (2013 - Present)
  • Barrett Honors College, Honors Advisory Committee (2013 - Present)
  • FASEB Journal, reviewer (2013 - Present)
  • Journal of the History of Biology, reviewer (2013 - Present)
  • National Science Foundation, panelist (2013 - Present)
  • Nature Biotech, reviewer (2013 - Present)
  • Philosophy Compass, reviewer (2013 - Present)
  • Rutgers University Press, reviewer for book manuscript (2013 - Present)
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, reviewer (2013 - Present)
  • Ethics Review Committee, Chair (2012 - Present)
  • Integrity Review Committee, Chair (2012 - Present)
  • NTU Philosophical Review, reviewer (2012 - Present)
  • Origins Institute Advisory Committee, member (2012 - Present)
  • Uses and Abuses of Biology, reviewer (2012 - Present)
  • MBL, History Project (2011 - Present)
  • MBL HPS Program, Director (2011 - Present)
  • Marine Biological Laboratory, Director, MBL-ASU History and Philosophy of Science Program (2011 - Present)
  • Nature, Reviewer (2011 - Present)
  • Provost's Awards Committee, member (2011 - Present)
  • Friendship Village and other community organizations, Speaker (2010 - Present)
  • National Institutes of Health, Reviewer (2009 - Present)
  • Parents Association, community events (2009 - Present)
  • National Science Foundation, Reviewer (2009 - Present)
  • Faculty Women’s Association, Speaker (2010 - Present)
  • American Cell Biology - Education, Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • Berkeley Project for History of Natural History, Advisory Committee (2010 - Present)
  • Cambridge University Press, Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • Harvard University Press, Reviewer (for many volumes) (2009 - Present)
  • Journal of Experimental Zoology, Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • Journal of the History of Biology, Frequent Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • Oxford University Press, Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • University Press of New England, Reviewer (2010 - Present)
  • TedX, invited lecturer (2009 - Present)
  • CLAS Dean's Salon, speaker (2009 - Present)
  • CLAS Hall, speaker at student events (2009 - Present)
  • Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix, speaker (2009 - Present)
  • Rotman Institute for Philosophy Engaging Science, Chair of International Advisory Committee (2009 - Present)
  • U of A College of Medicine Phoenix with ASU, Scholarly Project Advisor (2009 - Present)
  • University of Western Ontario Institute for Philosophy Engaging Science, International Advisory Committee Chair (2009 - Present)
  • HPS, Integrated History and Philosophy of Science, Steering Committee (2009 - Present)
  • HPS, Integrated History and Philosophy of Science, Program Committee (2009 - Present)
  • Isis, editorial board (2009 - Present)
  • Journal of the History of Biology, reviewer (2009 - Present)
  • Philosophy of Science, Editorial Board Member (2009 - Present)
  • CLAS Science and Society Committee, Member (2008 - Present)
  • Science and Society Committee, member (2008 - Present)
  • Science and Communication, Editorial Board (2007 - Present)
  • Journal of Experimental Zoology, Editorial Board Member (2006 - Present)
  • Annals of History and Philosophy of Biology, editorial board (2006 - Present)
  • Journal of Biomedical Discovery and Collaboration, Editorial Board Member (2006 - Present)
  • Steering Committee, Integrated History and Philosophy of Science Conferences, Member (2006 - Present)
  • Distinguished Teaching Academy, Founding member (2005 - Present)
  • Human Dimensions, Faculty Leader (2003 - Present)
  • SOLS, Executive Committee member (2003 - Present)
  • Center for Biology and Society, Director (2003 - Present)
  • Faculty Honors Council, Member (1996 - Present)
  • Honors Council, member (1996 - Present)
  • Biology and Philosophy, Associate Editor (1993 - Present)
  • Cambridge University Press Studies in the Philosophy of Biology Series, Associate Editor (1993 - Present)
  • Marine Biological Laboratory, History of Biology Seminar co-organizer (1987 - Present)
  • History of Science Society Caucus on Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science, Chair (2014)
  • Search Committee for University Librarian, member (2013 - 2014)
  • Ethics Review Committee, chair (2012 - 2013)
  • SOLS, Education Search Committee co-chair (2012 - 2013)
  • AAAS, Chair of Section L (History and Philosophy of Science) (2010 - 2013)
  • Berkeley Project on Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Advisory Committee (2010 - 2012)
  • Philosophy of Science, editorial board (2009 - 2012)
  • Journal of Experimental Zoology, editorial board (2006 - 2012)
  • Honors Council, Chair (2012)
  • Honors Council, Chair (2011 - 2012)
  • History of Science Society, Council Member (2010 - 2011)
  • NSF Graduate Fellowship Panel, Chair (2011)
  • SOLS, Faculty Leader, Executive Committee, and Whatever is needed (2010)
  • History of Science Society, President (2008 - 2010)
  • U of A/ASU Medical School, Faculty (2010)
  • SOLS, Search Committee Chair (2010)
  • History of Science Society, President (2008 - 2009)
  • Regents' Professor Selection Committee, member (2007 - 2009)
  • President's Office Community Enrichment Programs, course instructor (2008 - 2009)
  • Association for Women in Science, Board Member (2006 - 2008)
  • Arizona Consortium for Medicine, Society, and Values, Co-Coordinator (2005 - 2008)
  • History of Science Society, Vice President (2006 - 2007)
  • National Research Council Committee, Conceptual Basis of Biological Sciences for the 21st Century, Member (2006 - 2007)
  • Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Associate Editor (2005 - 2007)
  • Community lectures at homes, as requested by Dean and President's office, lecturer (2004 - 2007)
  • New Dictionary of Scientific Biography, Editorial Committee Member (2004 - 2007)
  • Where Biology Meets Society, Federal Judicial Center (2004 - 2007)
  • Dibner Institute Seminar at Woods Hole, Co-organizer (1987 - 2007)
  • Editorial Advisory Committee, History of Scientific Thought (Gale Publishers), Member (2005 - 2006)
  • Wiseguys, invited speaker (2005 - 2006)
  • Parents Association Professor of the Year Committee, Member (2000 - 2006)
  • History and Philosophy of Life Sciences, Editorial Board (1993 - 2006)
  • AIBS Awards Committee, Member (2006 - 2006)
  • Journal of the History of Biology, Co-editor (1998 - 2006)
  • Parents Association Professor of the Year Selection Committee, Member (2000 - 2006)
  • AAAS, Section L Member at Large (2003 - 2006)
  • Arizona Academy of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, Treasurer, Founding Member (2004 - 2005)
  • ISHPSSB, Operations Committee (2004 - 2005)
  • Arizona Science Center for Arizona Consortium, speaker in panel on stem cells (2005)
  • GELSS, opening speaker (2005)
  • Search Committee for Philosopher of Biology, SOLS, Member (2005)
  • Sun City Engineers, lecture with Jason Robert (2005)
  • Presidents Community Enrichment Program, instructor with Rick Creath (2005)
  • Consortium for ELSI Programs at ASU, Coordinator (2003 - 2004)
  • Arizona Consortium for Medicine, Society, and Values, Director (2004)
  • Search Committee for Philosopher of Biology, Chair (2004)
  • SOLS Search Committee for Bioethics, Member (2003 - 2004)
  • President's Community Enrichment Program, instructor (2003 - 2004)
  • Undergrad Programs Committee, Member (2003)
  • Where Biology Meet Society, presenter (2003)
  • Careers in science policy, speaker (2003)
  • Gordon Conference on New Frontiers in Science and Technology Policy, Vice Chair (2002)
  • University Accreditation Team, Member (2001 - 2002)
  • Association for Women in Science, Councilor (1999 - 2000)
  • Chair Search Committee, Lincoln Center for Ethics, Member (1999 - 2000)
  • Science, Nature, Cell Stem Cell, Isis, Journal of the History of Biology, Evolution and Development, Other journals, Reviewer (Present)


Work History

Marine BIological Laboratory, Fellow and Director of History Project ASU since 1981 Senior Fellow, Dibner Institute for History of Science and Technology, MIT, 2002 Congressional Fellow to Congressman Matt Salmon, 105th Congress Stanford University, Visiting Associate Professor, 1987 Harvard University, Visiting Scholar, 1983-1984 Dickinson College, 1978-1980