I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Program in History of Science, Department of History. Broadly, I am an historian of the modern biomolecular sciences who gravitates towards studying American and British actors and institutions, and people who have lived and worked in these places. My research and teaching has ranged from Early Modern chymistry and taxonomy to the Human Genome Project. My advisor is Prof. Angela N.H. Creager.

Presently, I am researching and writing my dissertation, which explores how, why, where, and to what effects neurophysiologists in the United States and Great Britain, from the 1930s through the 1970s, came to rely so heavily on marine invertebrate preparations in their studies. I am investigating how the rise of modern "neuroscience" can be situated productively within the histories of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics. Protagonists include Francis O. Schmitt, founder of the Neurosciences Research Program (NRP) at MIT, and Stephen W. Kuffler, who began the Department of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. Other, more watery places include the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, the Marine Biological Association of the U.K., in Plymouth, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, CA. Organisms include squid, octopuses, horseshoe crabs, lobsters and more.

In Spring 2016, I precepted for HIS294, "What is the Scientific Revolution?" with Prof. Jennifer Rampling. I was also awarded the Mary and Randall Hack '69 Graduate Award from the Princeton Environmental Institute, which supports "innovative research on water or water-related topics."

In Spring 2015, I completed Generals Examination fields with Profs. Angela N.H. Creager (history of modern biology and biomedicine in the West), Katja Guenther (history of medicine and the mind sciences in the West), and Margot Canaday (history of the United States in the 20th century, with a focus on gender and sexuality studies).

Before coming to Princeton, I completed my B.S. in Biology, summa cum laude, from Duke University (2010). I minored in Chemistry and History and was also the recipient of a Faculty Scholarship. After graduation, I worked for three years as a Research Aide at the NIH-funded Duke Center for Public Genomics, focused on the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) of the Human Genome Project (HGP). Whilst there, with Robert Cook-Deegan (now of Arizona State University, then of Duke) and Rachel A. Ankeny (University of Adelaide), I researched the history of the Bermuda Principles, the policies which required that HGP investigators share their DNA sequences on the Internet within 24 hours. This invigorating and challenging work, which involved dozens of first-person interviews and uncovered new primary source documentation, resulted in a digital archive and several publications, both completed and in process (see below).

When I'm not in an archive, writing, or teaching, you can find me running, watching other people run on television, cooking, drinking red Bordeaux and Islay Scotch whisky, eating chocolate, flea marketing, and spending time with my husband, T. Cole Jones, an early American historian at Purdue University. We live together in Lafayette, IN, but I am frequently back in Princeton.

E-mail me, or find me on LinkedIn, Academia.edu, or Twitter (@kmaxnerd).


Jenny Reardon, Rachel A. Ankeny, Jenny Bangham, Katherine W. Darling, Stephen Hilgartner, Kathryn Maxson Jones, Beth Shapiro, Hallam Stevens, and The Genomic Open workshop group, “Bermuda 2.0: Reflections from Santa Cruz,” GigaScience 2016 5(1): 1-4.

Kathryn Maxson Jones, “Biology, Computing, and the History of Molecular Sequencing: From Proteins to DNA, 1945-2000,” review of work by Miguel García-Sancho, New Genetics and Society, published online 16 June 2016.

Under review:

Robert Cook-Deegan, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Kathryn Maxson Jones, “Sharing Data to Build a Medical Information Commons: From Bermuda to the Global Alliance.”

In preparation:

Kathryn Maxson Jones, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Robert Cook-Deegan, "The Bermuda Triangle: The Politics, Principles, and Pragmatics of Data Sharing in the History of the Human Genome Project, 1963-2003."

Kathryn Maxson Jones, "The Afterglow of Physiology: Edmund Newton Harvey, General Physiology, and Biochemistry at Princeton, 1911-1961."