Katherine Maccord

Faculty Assoc
TEMPE Campus


I received my PhD in History and Philosophy of Science in 2017 from ASU, in which I investigated the history of the intersection of development and evolution within research on mammalian teeth. I spent a Fulbright year with the evolutionary phenomics laboratory of Jukka Jernvall at the University of Helsinki. During my PhD studies, I managed the MBL History Project, wrote and edited for the Embryo Project Encyclopedia, worked as a Project Coordinator for the Center for Biology and Society at ASU for four years, and was the developing editor for Harvard University Press for Lucie Laplane’s book, Cancer Stem Cells: Philosophy and Therapies. Prior to pursuing my doctorate, I earned an MPhil in Human Evolutionary Studies from the University of Cambridge in 2010, where I attended as a Gates Scholar, and a BPhil in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, where I also earned a minor in German Studies and a certificate in the Conceptual Foundations of Medicine (HPS).


Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, Center for Biology and Society

PhD: History and Philosophy of Science

University of Cambridge, Churchill College

Master of Philosophy: Human Evolutionary Studies

University of Pittsburgh, University Honors College

Bachelor of Philosophy: Anthropology

Minor: German Studies

Certificate: Conceptual Foundations of Medicine (HPS)


Research Interests

History and philosophy of biology

Embryology/developmental biology in the 20th century


Evolutionary theory and history

Developmental evolution/Evo-Devo

Germ line theory/Germ line regeneration



MacCord, Kate, Jane Maienschein. “The Historiography of Embryology and Developmental Biology,” In The Historiography of Biology Eds. Michael Dietrich, Mark Borrello, Oren Harman. 2018. Springer Press.

MacCord, Kate, Jane Maienschein (April 2018) “Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory,” In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0027989

Steinert, Beatrice, Kate MacCord. “Visualizing the Cell: Pictorial Styles and their Epistemic Goals in General Cytology,” In Visions of Cell Biology: Reflections on Cowdry’s Cytology Eds. Karl Matlin, Jane Maienschein, Manfred Laubichler. 2018. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

MacCord, Kate, Jane Maienschein. “Cells, Development, and Evolution: Teeth at the Intersection of Fields,” in The Darwinian Tradition in Context: Research Programs in Twentieth-Century Evolutionary Biology Ed. Richard Delisle. 2017. Springer Press.

Maienschein, Jane, Kate MacCord. “Changing Conceptions of Human Nature,” In Frankenstein Eds. Jason Robert, Ed Finn, David Guston. 2017. Boston, MA: MIT Press.

MacCord, Kate, Guido Caniglia, Jacqueline E. Moustakas‐Verho, and Ann C. Burke. "The Dawn of Chelonian Research: Turtles between Comparative Anatomy and Embryology in the 19th Century." Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 324, no. 3 (2015): 169-180. DOI: 10.1002/jez.b.22587

MacCord, Kate. "Whose view of embryos?." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biology & Biomedical Sciences C 53 (2015): 103-106.

MacCord, Kate, Jane Maienschein, Wes Anderson, Marci Baranski, Florian Huber, Valerie Racine, Jonathan LaTourelle.  “The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) History Project.” News from the Profession newsletter of the History of Science Society (2014) October.

MacCord, Kate, Jessica Ranney, Erica O’Neil. “3rd USA Science and Engineering Festival.” News from the Profession newsletter of the History of Science Society (2014) July.

MacCord, Kate. “The Unpredictable Species: What Makes Humans Unique by Philip Lieberman.” The Quarterly Review of Biology 89 no. 1 (2014): 58–59. doi:10.1086/675021

MacCord, Kate, "Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840)". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2014-01-22). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/7512.

MacCord, Kate, "Endothelium". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2014-01-28). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/7517.

MacCord, Kate, "Ectoderm". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-12-02). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/6642.

MacCord, Kate, "Mesoderm". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-11-26). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/6603.

MacCord, Kate, "Endoderm". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-11-17). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/6584.

MacCord, Kate, "Germ Layers". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-09-17). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/6273.

MacCord, Kate, "Human Evolution Inferred from Tooth Growth and Development". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-03-28). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/4936.

MacCord, Kate, "The inductive capacity of oral mesenchyme and its role in tooth development (1969-1970), by Edward J. Kollar and Grace R. Baird". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-03-15). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/4218.

MacCord, Kate, "Biological Clocks and the Formation of Human Tooth Enamel". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2013-01-31). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/4213.

Kearl, Megan, Kate MacCord. "On the Induction of Embryonic Primordia by Implantation of Organizers from Different Species" (1924), Hilde Mangold's Dissertation". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2012-12-19). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/4208.

MacCord, Kate, "Epithelium". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2012-10-17). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/3946.

MacCord, Kate, "Mesenchyme". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2012-09-14). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/3941.

Research Activity

The driving theme of my research in the history and philosophy of science is understanding the roles that assumptions play within scientific practice and explanations, particularly in studies of development and evolution. My research has focused on the ways in which investigators have understood and explained mammalian tooth development, from the late-19th century to present day, and how development and evolution have been perceived as intertwined within this work.

My latest research project has a two-fold focus. First, I am interested in how scientists have defined and approached the study of regeneration–a phenomenon that can be found playing out throughout the entire span of complex living systems, from microbial communities, to organisms, to ecosystems. Second, I am interested in regeneration in germ cells, and in particular, understanding how scientists have attributed certain properties (i.e. sequestration, quiescence) to germ cells/germ lines, and how these features have influenced our understanding of both what germ cells are and how they act. For this second focus, I have started a collaboration with MBL Hibbitt Fellow, Duygu Özpolat.


Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 318 History of Medicine
HPS 331 History of Medicine
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
HPS 516 History of Biology
BIO 518 History of Biology
BIO 591 Seminar


2012-2013     Fulbright Grantee (Finland)

2009-2010    Gates Cambridge Scholar (University of Cambridge)


Developing Editor, Harvard University Press. Developing Editor on Lucie Laplanes book: Cancer Stem Cell

Professional Associations

Philosophy of Science Association (September 2016 to present) MBL Society (July 2015 to present) Pan American Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology (April 2015 to present) International Society for the History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology (ISHPSSB) (2011 to present) History of Science Society (HSS) (2010 to present)


September 2015-present: Coordinator, Digital History and Philosophy of Science Consortium

July 2014-present: Student representative, Joint Caucus for Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science (JCSEPHS), History of Science Society/Philosophical Society of America