Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Asst Prof Ian McGonigle

Nanyang Assistant Professor, School of Social Sciences

Asst Prof Ian McGonigle

Ian is a scholar of Anthropology and Science, Technology, and Society (STS). He is broadly interested in the relationships between science, technology and identity. He specializes in contemporary Middle Eastern societies, with a focus on genetic technologies and national development.

His 2015 co-authored article ‘Genetic Citizenship,’ which discusses the relationship between genetic definitions of Jewishness and Israel’s Law of Return, was the most read and highest impact article in the Journal of Law and the Biosciences.

His more recent research focusses on the relationships between human genome projects and ethnic identity in Asia. He is also working on a cultural study of wine production in the West Bank area of Israel/Palestine, where wine science is entangled with a historical imagination of indigeneity that naturalizes Jewish presence on this highly contested territory. Ian’s research and teaching will continue to focus on Israel and the Middle East region and will include research on artificial intelligence, precision medicine, and national identity.

Ian came to NTU in 2018 with a Nanyang Assistant Professor start-up grant of SG$1M to launch a science and society research group. In 2015, he was awarded a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship by the Israel Institute, which he used to spend a year as a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Tel Aviv University. He has also been an affiliate of Harvard’s Program on Science, Technology, and Society, since 2013.

Ian has Ph.D.s in Biochemistry (Cambridge 2010) and Middle Eastern Studies and Anthropology (Harvard 2018). He also has a B.A. in Biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin (2007) and masters degrees in Cultural- and Social Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2013) and Harvard University (2015).
Research Interests
Ethnopharmacology; Middle Eastern Societies; Philosophical Anthropology; Science, Technology, & Society

Ian is happy to hear from students and postdocs interested in developing research projects in Anthropology and STS


'COVID-19 and Racism: Preventing Discrimination in the Age of Precision Medicine,’ Co-PI with KIM Hie Lim, NTU ASE

‘A Comparative Study of Expertise for Policy in the COVID-19 Pandemic,' (Project Team Member), PIs Stephen Hilgartner, Cornell University & Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School


McGonigle, I (2020) National Biobanking in Qatar and Israel: Tracing how Global Scientific Institutions Mediate Local Ethnic Identities. Science, Technology & Society

McGonigle, I (2020) Biobanking and “Qatarization”: Ethno-national Identity in the Molecular Realm,’ In Schwarz and Williams (Eds.), Studies on the Social Construction of Identity and Authenticity. London: Routledge.

Chang, C. and I. McGonigle (2020) Kopi Culture: Consumption, Conservatism and Cosmopolitanism amongst Singapore’s Millennials. Asian Anthropology

McGonigle, I. (2019) Genomic Data and the Dividual Self. Genetics Research.101(e12).

McGonigle, I. (2019) In Vino Veritas? Indigenous Wine and Indigenization in Israeli Settlements. Anthropology Today 35(4): 7-12.

McGonigle, I, and S.C Schuster (2019) Global Science Meets Ethnic Diversity: Ian McGonigle interviews GenomeAsia100k Scientific Chairman Stephan Schuster. Genetics Research 101(e5).

McGonigle, I.V. (2017) Spirits and Molecules: Ethnopharmacology and Symmetrical Epistemological Pluralism. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 82(1): 139-164.

McGonigle, I.V. and R. Benjamin (2016) The Molecularization of Identity: Science and Subjectivity in the 21st Century. Genetics Research 98(e12).

McGonigle, I.V. (2016) Patenting Nature or Protecting Culture? Ethnopharmacology and Indigenous Intellectual Property Rights. The Journal of Law and the Biosciences 3(1): 217-226.

McGonigle, I.V. (2016) The Collective Nature of Personalized Medicine. Genetics Research 98(e3).

McGonigle, I.V. and N. Shomron (2016) Privacy, Anonymity, and Subjectivity, in Genomic Research. Genetics Research 98(e2).

McGonigle, I.V. (2015) ‘Jewish Genetics’ and the ‘Nature’ of Israeli Citizenship. Transversal: Journal for Jewish Studies 13(2): 90–102.

McGonigle, I.V. and L. Herman (2015) Genetic Citizenship: DNA Testing and the Israeli Law of Return. The Journal of Law and the Biosciences 2(2): 469-478.

Corradi, J., A.J. Thompson, I. McGonigle, C. Bouzat, and S.C.R. Lummis (2015) 5-HT3 Receptor Brain-type B-Subunits are differentially expressed in heterologous systems. ACS Chemical Neuroscience 6(7): 1158-1164.

McGonigle, I.V. (2013) Khat: Chewing on a Bitter Controversy. Anthropology Today 29(4): 4-7.

Ashby, J.A., McGonigle, I.V, Price, K.L., Cohen, N., Comitani, F., Dougherty, D.A., Molteni, C., Lummis, S.C.R. (2012) GABA Binding to an Insect GABA Receptor: A Molecular Dynamics and Mutagenesis Study. Biophysical Journal 103(10): 2071-2081.

Thompson, A.J., McGonigle, I, Duke, R., Johnston, G.A., Lummis, S.C. (2012) A Single Amino Acid Determines the Toxicity of Ginkgo biloba Extracts. The FASEB Journal 26(5): 1884-1891.

Lummis, S.C., McGonigle, I., Ashby, J, Dougherty, D.A. (2011) Two Amino Acid Residues Contribute to a Cation-π Binding Interaction in the Binding Site of an Insect GABA Receptor. The Journal of Neuroscience 31(34): 12371-12376.

McGonigle, I., and Lummis, S.C. (2010) Molecular Characterization of Agonists that Bind to an Insect GABA Receptor. Biochemistry 49(13): 2897-2902.
Current Projects
  • The Molecularization of Identity: Science and Nation Building in the 21st Century

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