Melani Nardone MA Graduate, Anthrozoology

My lifelong interest in advocating for more enlightened treatment of non human animals has inspired an applied approach to research. Two current areas of ongoing exploration have been the genetic engineering of non human animals for human ends, and assessment of companion animal behaviour in training contexts. In both issues I seek to understand human expectations of animal being and the influence of those expectations on their embodied manipulation and treatment.

My involvement in animal welfare was initially fostered through more than twenty years of work as a grassroots advocate of a national non-profit group, The Greyhound Welfare Foundation, in a variety of capacities as a national spokesperson/lobbyist, cruelty investigator and evidence based educator. I have a BA from Columbia University (New York, NY) and an MA in Anthrozoology with Distinction from the University of Exeter in England, where I am now in my first year of PhD research.

My doctoral work will examine how human and non human animal performances negotiate to discursively and materially frame uncertainty within the context of a novel biotechnological project conducted by the Sculpting Evolution Group (SEG) at MIT. SEG has collaborated with a local island community to introduce a genetically altered (rendered heritably immune) indigenous mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) into the environment to reduce the threat of endemic tick borne diseases. SEG will be employing CRISPR, a genomic editing tool with unknown long term ecological effects to alter the germlines of Peromyscus. I am interested in exploring how techno scientific changes to other beings may alter our relationalities with them, and affect our shared ecologies moving forward.