Robin Wolfe Scheffler is an Associate Professor within the Program in the Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studies the history of the modern biological and biomedical sciences and their intersections with developments in American history. His first book, A Contagious Cause, follows the history of cancer virus research in the twentieth century from legislature to laboratory, documenting its origins and impact on the modern biological sciences. His other projects include the history of the biotechnology industry and a chemical biography of dioxins. The common goal of Professor Scheffler’s projects is to understand the mutual influence of science on society and of society on science.
Professor Scheffler earned his doctorate at Yale in the history of science and medicine. He also holds an M.Phil in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge as well as undergraduate degrees in history and chemistry from the University of Chicago. Before joining the faculty at MIT he was a visiting scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Rockefeller Archives Center, and the National Institutes of Health Office of History, among other institutions. He recently edited a special issue of Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences that focuses on the history of cancer viruses. Professor Scheffler has also published in the Canadian Medical Associaiton Journal, Endeavour, and the Journal of the History of Biology.