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Report: The 4th Meeting of the Vienna Science Studies Laboratory at Das Cafe

The 4th Meeting of the Vienna Science Studies Laboratory was held yesterday afternoon in the cozy ambience of Das Café in Vienna. The paper that was selected for this reading group’s discussion was Kelly, M. P., Kelly, R. S., & Russo, F. (2014). The integration of social, behavioral, and biological mechanisms in models of pathogenesis. Perspectives in biology and medicine, 57(3), 308–328. This paper emphasis on how, in the field of understanding human diseases, biological factors often take precedence while socio-economic and behavioral mechanisms are often undervalued, whereas they are in fact crucial; the paper proposes that socio-economic and behavioral mechanisms be integrated with the biological factors for a clearer understanding of disease causes in order to bring about better intervention strategies and policies.  

The meeting was attended by 13 participants from multiple disciplines and affiliations in and around Vienna. Co-organiser Laura Menatti (KLI) opened the meeting with a welcome note and a brief introduction to the paper, and Hari Sridhar (KLI) led the discussion, inviting a discussion on the challenges of integrating social and behavioural aspects with biological aspects into a model of disease causation. Maria Kronfeldner (Central European University) provided additional historical aspects of disease and responsibility. What followed was a lively discussion where most participants contributed interesting points on various aspects of the paper, especially around the concepts of ‘lifeworlds’ and 'mixed mechanisms' in explaining diseases. The meeting concluded with co-organiser Sophie Veigl (Uni. of Vienna) announcing possible future dates for the next reading group meetings in the spring and fall this year.

The Vienna Science Studies Lab ( is an intra-institution initiative hosted by the Konrad Lorenz Institute (KLI), the UPSalon (University of Vienna), and the Epistemology of the In/human Project at Central European University (CEU).