Lesley Sharp headshot

Lesley Sharp Visiting Fellow

Lesley Sharp, a medical anthropologist, has long been intrigued by the moral underpinnings of interspecism. This interest emerged early during research on religious healing in Madagascar, where animal spirits figure prominently in associated cosmological systems. Subsequently, Sharp shifted her focus to organ transplantation in the U.S. and, then, to associated highly experimental scientific domains—namely, bioengineering and xenotransplantation—that rely heavily on lab animals in their efforts to generate viable alternatives for organs sourced from human donors. Her most recent research addresses the sociomoral underpinnings, assumptions, and consequences of lab animal experimentation. Sharp’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Social Science Research Council, Guggenheim Foundation, and Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

Sharp is the author of six single-authored books, alongside numerous articles in anthropological, bioethical, historical, and philosophical journals. Her book Strange Harvest: Organ Transplants, Denatured Bodies, and the Transformed Self (California, 2006) won the Millennium Book Prize of the Society for Medical Anthropology; her most recent work is Animal Ethos: The Morality of Human-Animal Encounters in Experimental Lab Science (California, 2019). Sharp holds five teaching and mentoring awards, and she is the 2018-19 recipient of the Wellcome Medal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. Sharp is based at Barnard College, Columbia University in New York City, where she is the Barbara C. & Helen C. Josefsberg ’30 Chair in Anthropology and Senior Research Scientist in Sociomedical Sciences at the Mailman School of Public Health.