Gabrielle Robbins is a PhD candidate in MIT’s History/Anthropology/Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) program. Her doctoral project draws on medical anthropology and environmental anthropology alongside approaches from science and technology studies (STS) to understand the pharmaceutical industry’s reliance on natural resources from the ground up. Focused on the cultivation of medicinal plants and their processing into pharmaceutical ingredients, her fieldwork involves multi-sited ethnographic research with communities such as farmers, factory workers, and scientific researchers to unravel the socio-environmental impacts of pharmaceutical manufacturing. Through grounded case studies in Kentucky and Madagascar, she further examines how local communities use their participation in agro-medical industries to intervene in worked landscapes at the same time as they formulate their own potent reflections on what makes healthy bodies and healthy economies.
In addition to the Martin Fellows program, her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, the MIT Center for International Studies, and the MIT Environmental Solutions Initiative. Outside of research, she is involved in the MIT Graduate Student Council, where she has focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as equitable funding policies and Covid-19 response. She is also a devoted member of the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee, supporting community and social activity on campus. She holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College.