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Emma Frow

Emma Frow

Assistant Professor, School for Future of Innovation in Society, College of Global Futures


School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Arizona State University
PO Box 875603
Tempe, AZ 85287-5603


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Assistant Professor, School for Future of Innovation in Society, College of Global Futures
  • Assistant Professor, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


Emma Frow joined Arizona State University in 2015 and holds a joint appointment with the School for the Future of Innovation in Society (SFIS) and the School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE). Her research focuses on the governance of emerging biotechnologies, with a specific focus on governance of/by the STEM research community. She studies governance from multiple perspectives, including for example conducting ethnographic research that traces decision-making practices at the micro-scale (governance through technology design), and designing experimental engagements with scientists and engineers (interdisciplinary collaboration as a form of governance).

After completing a PhD in biochemistry, Emma worked briefly in scientific publishing and then re-trained in the social sciences, gaining a master's degree n science & technology studies from the University of Edinburgh. She completed postdoctoral research at the ESRC Genomics Policy & Research Forum at the University of Edinburgh and at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and was an assistant professor in science, technology and innovation studies at the University of Edinburgh before moving to ASU.


  • PhD, Biochemistry, University of Cambridge
  • MSc, Science and Technology Studies, University of Edinburgh
  • BA, Natural Science (Neuroscience), University of Cambridge

Journal Articles


Frow, E. K., D. A. Brafman, A. Muldoon, L. Krum, P. Williams, B. Becker, J. P. Nelson and A. Pritchett. 2019. Characterizing direct-to-consumer stem cell businesses in the southwest United States. Stem Cell Reports 13(2):247-253. DOI: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2019.07.001. (link )


Delborne, J., J. Kuzma, F. Gould, E. K. Frow, C. Leitschuh and J. Sudweeks. 2018. ‘Mapping research and governance needs for gene drives’. Journal of Responsible Innovation 5(Sup 1):S4-S12. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2017.1419413. (link )

Kuzma, J., F. Gould, Z. Brown, J. Collins, J. Delborne, E. K. Frow, D. Guston, C. Leitschuh, K. Oye and S. Stauffer. 2018. A roadmap for gene drives: using institutional analysis and development to frame research needs and governance in a systems context. Journal of Responsible Innovation 5(Sup 1):S31-S39. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2017.1410344. (link )

McGurrin, P. and E. K. Frow. 2018. Governing citizen use of brain stimulation technologies: what role for scientists?. Journal of Responsible Innovation 5(1):117-121. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2017.1359474. (link )


Frow, E. 2017. From "experiments of concern" to "groups of concern": Constructing and containing citizens in synthetic biology. Science, Technology, & Human Values 45(6):1038-1064. DOI: 10.1177/0162243917735382. (link )


Balmer, A. S., J. Calvert, C. Marris, S. Molyneux-Hodgson, E. Frow, M. Kearnes, K. Bulpin, P. Schyfter, A. Mackenzie and P. Martin. 2016. Five rules of thumb for post-ELSI interdisciplinary collaborations. Journal of Responsible Innovation 3(1):73-80. DOI: 10.1080/23299460.2016.1177867. (link )


Calvert, J. and E. Frow. 2015. The synthetic yeast project as a topic for social scientific investigation. MacQuarie Law Journal 15:27-37. (link )


Davies, G., E. Frow and S. Leonelli. 2013. Bigger, faster, better? Rhetorics and practices of large-scale research in contemporary bioscience. BioSocieties 8:386-396. DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2013.26. (link )

Frow, E. K. 2013. Making big promises come true? Articulating and realizing value in synthetic biology. BioSocieties 8:432-448. DOI: 10.1057/biosoc.2013.28. (link )

Frow, E. and J. Calvert. 2013. Opening up the future(s) of synthetic biology. Futures 48(Apr):32-43. DOI: 10.1016/j.futures.2013.03.001. (link )

Frow, E. and J. Calvert. 2013. ‘Can simple biological systems be built from standardized interchangeable parts?’ Negotiating biology and engineering in a synthetic biology competition. Engineering Studies 5(1):42-58. DOI: 10.1080/19378629.2013.764881. (link )

Mackenzie, A., C. Waterton, R. Ellis, E. K. Frow, R. McNally, L. Busch and B. Wynne. 2013. Classifying, constructing, and identifying life: Standards as transformations of "The Biological". Science, Technology, & Human Values 38(5):701-722. DOI: 10.1177/0162243912474324. (link )

Schyfter, P., E. Frow and J. Calvert. 2013. Guest Editorial: Synthetic biology: Making biology into an engineering discipline. Engineering Studies 6(1):1-5. DOI: 10.1080/19378629.2013.763647. (link )


Frow, E. K. 2012. Drawing a line: Setting guidelines for digital image processing in scientific journal articles. Social Studies of Science 42(3):369-292. (link )

Wiek, A., D. H. Guston, E. K. Frow and J. Calvert. 2012. Sustainability and anticipatory governance in synthetic biology. International Journal of Social Ecology and Sustainable Development 3(2):25-38. DOI: 10.4018/jsesd.2012040103. (link )


Frow, E., D. Ingram, W. Powell, D. Steer, J. Vogel and S. Yearley. 2009. The politics of plants. Food Security 1:17-23. DOI: 10.1007/s12571-008-0007-6. (link )


Balmer, A. S., C. Marris, S. Molyneux-Hodgson, E. Frow, M. Kearnes, K. Bulpin, P. Schyfter, A. Mackenzie and P. Martin. 2005. Taking roles in interdisciplinary collaborations: Reflections on working in post-ELSI spaces in the UK synthetic biology community. Science & Technology Studies 28(3):. (link )


Frow, E. K., J. Reckless and D. J. Grainger. 2004. Tools for anti-inflammatory drug design: In vitro models of leukocyte migration. Medicinal Research Reviews 24(3):267-298. (link )


Grainger, D. J. and E. K. Frow. 2000. Thrombospondin 1 does not activate transforming growth factor beta 1 in a chemically defined system or in smooth-muscle-cell cultures.. Biochemical Journal 350(Pt 1):291-298. (link )

Book Chapters


Frow, E. K. 2017. Negotiating the values of space exploration. In: Finn, E. F. and J. Eschrich eds., Visions, Ventures, Escape Velocities: A Collection of Space Futures. Center for Science and the Imagination. Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. ISBN: 9780999590218.


Frow, E. 2015. Rhetorics and practices of democratization in synthetic biology. Pp. 174-188 In: Wienroth, M. and E. Rodrigues eds., Knowing New Technologies: Social Aspects of Technological Convergence. Routledge. ISBN: 978-1138022935.

Weiss Evans, S. and E. K. Frow. 2015. Taking care in synthetic biology. In: Rappert, B. and B. Balmer eds., Absence in Science, Security and Policy. Palgrave Macmillan. London, UK. DOI: 10.1057/9781137493736_7. ISBN: 978-1-349-55277-1.


Frow, E. 2014. In images we trust? Objectivity in the digital age. Pp. 249-268 In: Coopmans, C., J. Vertesi, M. Lynch and S. Woolgar eds., Representation in Scientific Practice Revisited. MIT Press. ISBN: 9780262525381.


Calvert, J. and E. K. Frow. 2013. Chapter 3 - Social dimensions of microbial synthetic biology. Pp. 69-86 In: Harwood, C. and A. Wipat eds., Microbial Synthetic Biology. Elsevier. ISBN: 978-0-12-417029-2.


Frow, E. and S. Yearley. 2010. People, policy and plant genomics. Pp. 528-270 In: Kole, C. and A. G. Abbott eds., Principles and Practices of Plant Genomics: Advanced Genomics. Vol 3. CRC Press. ISBN: 978-1578086832.

Conference Papers


Frow, E. K., B. S. Smith and C. J. Ankeny. 2017. Freshman design course: Device design for low-resource settings. 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Columbus, OH, June 25-28, 2017. (link )


Frow, E. K. and M. R. Caplan. 2016. Work in progress: Promoting career reflection among freshman BMS students. 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. New Orleans, LA, June 24-29, 2016. (link )