Rice University

Department of English

Kirsten Ostherr

ostherr 2014

Ph.D., Brown University
M.P.H., University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health
Professor of English
Director, Medical Futures Lab
Adjunct Professor, The UT School of Public Health, Division of Health & Behavioral Sciences

Office: Herring Hall 313; BRC 170E
Phone: 713-348-4318
Email: kostherr@rice.edu 

Click here to view Professor Ostherr's CV 

Professor Ostherr teaches film and media studies, focusing on historical and contemporary visualizations of health and disease in photography, documentary film, television, animation, advertising, medical imaging, and web-based media. Her current research focuses on the emergent field of mHealth (mobile health) media, concepts of algorithmic life and the quantified self, and design-based translations of data into story. With the support of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New Directions Fellowship, Dr. Ostherr has recently completed a Master of Public Health degree at the UT-Houston School of Public Health. Her MPH research focused on the use of information and communication technologies in end-of-life care. Since 2012 Dr. Ostherr has been the co-founder and director of the Medical Futures Lab, a collaborative center bringing together faculty from Rice, Baylor College of Medicine, and UT Health to reimagine medicine at the intersection of humanity and technology. Through the Medical Futures Lab, Dr. Ostherr team-teaches a series of “digital medical humanities” courses that train students to solve real-world healthcare problems through collaborative, participatory design practices.

Dr. Ostherr has been a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Medical Humanities, at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and she is a Fellow in The John P. McGovern, M.D. Center for Humanities and Ethics, at the University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX. She is author of Cinematic Prophylaxis: Globalization and Contagion in the Discourse of World Health (Duke, 2005), and Medical Visions: Producing the Patient through Film, Television and Imaging Technologies (Oxford, 2012). She recently co-edited a special issue of the journal Discourse called "Science/Animation," and she is currently editing the book Applied Media Studies for publication with Routledge in 2017. Dr. Ostherr lectures widely and has recently given invited talks in Berlin, Geneva, Palo Alto, Chicago, San Diego, Philadelphia, New York, and other locations including the White House. Her work has been supported by a variety of grants and fellowships.