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Dr Aleksandra Stelmach

Dr Aleksandra Stelmach

Postdoctoral Research Associate


+44 (0) 1392 723215

Streatham Court, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4PU, UK

Aleksandra joined the Business School in 2019 to work with Dr Sarah Hartley on the project "Talking about gene drive: An exploration of language to enable understanding and deliberation in Africa, Europe, North America and Australasia".

Aleksandra’s research interests fall at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies and science communication, focussing in particular on the meanings and uses of emerging technologies. She has explored metaphors and narratives of reproductive risks in the field of foetal programming and more recently the emergence and public understanding of the field of epigenetics. Her current work examines public communication and understanding of gene drive technology.

Aleksandra has an interdisciplinary background. She holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Nottingham, as well as a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology (UCL), in European Journalism (Université de Lille/University of Warsaw) and in Applied Linguistics (University of Warsaw).  Before joining academia Aleksandra worked as a news reporter and a health and science editor for major media outlets.


  • PhD Science and Technology Studies
  • MSc Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • MA European Journalism
  • MA Applied Lingustics

Research interests

  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Science communication
  • Discourse and metaphor analysis
  • Socio-cultural approaches to the studies of science, medicine and health



Journal articles:

Nerlich B, Stelmach A, Ennis C (2019). How to do things with epigenetics: An investigation into the use of metaphors to promote alternative approaches to health and social science, and their implications for interdisciplinary collaboration. Social Science Information. Online first: https://doi.org/10.1177/0539018419887110

Müller R, Hanson C, Hanson M, Penkler M, Samaras G, Chiapperino L, Dupré J, Kenney M, Kuzawa C, Latimer J, Lloyd S, Lunkes A, Macdonald M, Meloni M, Nerlich B, Panese F, Pickersgill M, Richardson S, Rüegg J, Schmitz S, Stelmach A, Villa P-I (2017). The biosocial genome? Interdisciplinary perspectives on environmental epigenetics, health and society. EMBO Reports, 18(2017): 1677-1682. Full text: https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201744953

Stelmach A and Nerlich B (2015). Metaphors in search of a target: the curious case of epigenetics. New Genetics and Society, 34(2), 196-218. Full text: https://doi.org/10.1080/14636778.2015.1034849


Public engagement and dissemination:

Stelmach A (2019). Inspecting Pandora’s box: Promises and perils of gene drives. Making Science Public, University of Nottingham blog, post published 20th July 2019, available at: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2019/07/20/inspecting-pandoras-box-promises-and-perils-of-gene-drives/

Stelmach A (2019). Epigenetic ‘witness marks’: On the trail of a novel metaphor. Making Science Public, University of Nottingham blog, post published on 17th May 2019, available at: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2019/05/17/witness-marks-on-the-trail-of-an-epigenetic-metaphor

Nerlich B and Stelmach A (2019). Epigenetics in popular discourse: The case of turkey dinosaurs. Making Science Public, University of Nottingham blog, post published on 16th May 2019, available at: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2019/05/16/epigenetics-in-popular-culture-the-case-of-turkey-dinosaurs/

Nerlich B and Stelmach A (2018). Epigenetics: Grappling with definitions, Making Science Public, University of Nottingham blog, post published on 31st August 2018, available at: http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/makingsciencepublic/2018/08/31/epigenetics-grappling-with-definitions/