S21 Capstone BioEthics 2020 Retreat UCLA update
The Institute is a community of researchers dedicated to analyzing complex problems at the interface of biology and society and training the next generation of crossdisciplinary thinkers.

Classes | COVID-19


In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita tore into the Gulf Coast and displaced over a million residents. Trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency became the new homes for many of these people but soon occupants found it hard to breathe, suffering flulike symptoms, stinging eyes, and nosebleeds. The culprit was formaldehyde, which emanated from the hastily assembled, substandard materials used to make the trailers.

In this 2015 documentary, ISG faculty Nicholas Shapiro investigates and reports on the remaining toxic FEMA trailers still in use. Today, Dr. Shapiro and the members of his Carceral Ecologies Lab continue to research hidden toxicity in living environments. Video directed and produced by Mariel Carr in partnership with Grist and the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Watch now. Learn More.

Student Experience

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Shreya Ramineni uses her studies in Human Biology and Society B.S. Major and Global Health Minor to explore the connections among academic fields of her interest such as race theory and the culture of science. Read more.

Alumni Activities

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Michaela Gabrielle Serafica, ISG class of 2019 graduate, shares her work experience as a Health Emergency Preparedness Analyst at San Mateo County Health Emergency Medical Services. Read more.

Student Capstone Projects

Students in the Human Biology and Society major at UCLA complete an original research project at the intersection of biology and society in just 10 weeks. Students in Winter and Spring 2020 completed this project remotely during the COVID19 pandemic, and finished them during some of the largest protests against police violence in US history. To view their projects, click here.

Featured Research

Methionine is an amino acid that humans and farm animals must derive from food. This metabolite, a tightly regulated resource in ecosystems, has become a mass commodity in the global economy, with well over 1 million tons being produced annually from petroleum to fortify livestock feed. Viewed from the standpoint of planetary health, anthropogenic methionine synthesis is an important enabler of low-cost animal protein production, with interdependent but unexamined effects on human health and ecosystems. At a time when agrochemical engineering is shifting the way sulphur is assimilated and moves up our food chain, research suggests that dietary methionine restriction alone captures many healthspan benefits noted with calorie restriction. As such, methionine synthesis is an excellent exemplar of planetary scale anthropogenic activity that manifests at the molecular scale of cellular metabolism, with potential systemic effects on human health.

Hannah Landecker is currently working on a book called “American Metabolism,” which looks at transformations to the metabolic sciences wrought by the rise of epigenetics, microbiomics, cell signaling and hormone biology. Read More: “A planetary health perspective on synthetic methionine”. Cajetan Neubauer, Hannah Landecker (2021).

Recently at ISG

The Institute's Index

In 2019, ISG faculty gave 15 talks in 9 countries, across 4 continents.


The HBS major is the 8th most popular major in a poll recently taken of incoming UCLA students for the 2020-2021 academic year.


In total, ISG faculty are collaborating with 23 different academic institutions nationally and 12 internationally.


74% of the students that applied to our Class of 2022 HBS major were admitted.

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