Nicole Nelson

Assistant Professor

College of Letters & Science l School of Medicine and Public Health


Not accepting talk requests until June 2022

Nicole Nelson is an Assistant Professor in the History department at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research examines scientists’ assumptions about the natural world and how these assumptions shape scientific practice. She also does research on new technologies in oncology research and clinical care.


  • Genetics researchers learn a lot about how genes influence behavior through their laboratory work, but they learn a surprising amount of other information as well. This talk will show how researchers learn about how food, stress, and even smells can shape behavior through the process of setting up experiments.

  • Behavior genetics is often the subject of sensationalized media coverage, and scientists are concerned that the public gets the wrong message about their research. This talk will describe where things can go awry in interactions between scientists and journalists.

  • Scientists often use mice as models in the laboratory to carry out studies that would be impossible in humans. This talk describes how scientists went about developing a new mouse model for binge drinking disorder, and what they hoped to learn from it.

  • Personalized medicine is rapidly changing the way that scientists diagnose and treat disease, particularly in cancer care. This talk describes some of the ethical issues that arise in the process of introducing these new technologies.

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