I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in History of Science at Princeton University. My dissertation focuses on how experimentation with aquatic organisms, especially marine invertebrates such as squids, helped construct the nerve cell as an epistemic object across the 20th century. I pay close attention to how this history intersected with the entrance of molecular biologists into neurobiology; how the neurosciences achieved disciplinary status; and how the diversity of aquatic species biologists studied in the 20th century contributed to generalizable models of neurons.

In 2018-2019, I served as a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, MA, contributing to the McDonnell Initiative promoting collaboration amongst historians of science, philosophers of science, and life scientists in the study of regeneration across complex living systems. With the Program Administrator Dr. Kate MacCord, I continue to help coordinate the five McDonnell Initiatve Working Groups, which focus on stem cell, germ line, neuron, microbial community, and ecosystem regeneration. I run the Neuron Regeneration group with Dr. Jennifer R. Morgan (Eugene Bell Center for Regenerative Biology and Tissue Engineering), and together we are examining the history of the lamprey as an experimental and emerging model organism in neurophysiology.

From 2010 through 2013, I served as a Research Aide in the Center for Public Genomics (CPG), a Center of Excellence in Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (ELSI) Research for genomics co-funded by the US National Human Genome Research Institute and the US Department of Energy. With Robert Cook-Deegan and Rachel Ankeny, I led the research for a project investigating the history and implications of the “Bermuda Principles,” the policies that mandated the release of DNA sequences generated by the Human Genome Project (HGP) onto the Internet within 24 hours. This invigorating work led to several publications, including in the Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics (2017) and the Journal of the History of Biology (2018), as well as a digital repository of primary sources including interview transcripts and documents.

Alongside my dissertation, I maintain active research interests in the history of molecular biology and science policy. When I’m not in an archive, writing, or teaching, you can find me running, watching other people run on television, cooking, drinking red wine and Islay Scotch Whisky, or flea marketing.

E-mail me, or find me on LinkedIn, Academia.edu, or Twitter (@kmaxnerd). Please get in touch!


Kathryn Maxson Jones, “Francis O. Schmitt: At the Intersection of Neuroscience and Squid,” in Karl Matlin, Jane Maienschein, and Rachel A. Ankeny (eds.), Why Study Biology By the Sea? (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press), 187-210.

K. G. Maxson Jones and J. R. Morgan, “Experimental organisms, neuron regeneration, and the curious case of the lamprey in the history of the neurosciences, 1960-present.” Presentation No. 021.11SA. 2019 Neuroscience Meeting Planner. Chicago, IL: Society for Neuroscience, 2019. Online.

Kathryn Maxson Jones, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Robert Cook-Deegan, "The Bermuda Triangle: The Pragmatics, Policies, and Principles for Data Sharing in the History of the Human Genome Project," Journal of the History of Biology 2018 51(4): 693-805.

Robert Cook-Deegan, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Kathryn Maxson Jones, “Sharing Data to Build a Medical Information Commons: From Bermuda to the Global Alliance,” Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics 2017 18(1): 389-415.

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 2017 36(4): 406-408.

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.

Submitted for publication:

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